June 3, 2004: Headlines: COS - Iran: Atlanta Journal: School board chairman admits cribbing Donna Shalala speech

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Iran: Special Report: Iran RPCV, Cabinet Member, and University President Donna Shalala: June 3, 2004: Headlines: COS - Iran: Atlanta Journal: School board chairman admits cribbing Donna Shalala speech

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-45-115.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 8:30 am: Edit Post

School board chairman admits cribbing Donna Shalala speech

School board chairman admits cribbing Donna Shalala speech

School board chairman admits cribbing Donna Shalala speech

School board chairman admits cribbing Donna Shalala speech

The Associated Press
Published on: 06/03/04

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. Students at Orange County High School can be suspended if they present someone else's words or ideas as their own.

Some departing seniors and school board members were surprised to learn that the graduation speech delivered by county school board Chairman Keith Cook was lifted from a 1998 address given by someone else.

"I wrote that," Cook initially said when a reporter from the Herald-Sun asked him about the speech he gave Friday night.

But later, when a reporter e-mailed him an Internet address containing the speech, he admitted that he found it on a Web site.

The speech, which sought to draw life lessons from the 1997 movie "Titanic," was virtually identical to one given by Donna Shalala when she was U.S. secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration.

Cook said he found the speech when he did an Internet search on the term "graduation speeches." He said he thought the remarks were a "generic speech," and didn't realize Shalala had originally delivered it.

"I would've never done it, if I knew," Cook said. "It didn't have a name on it."

School board member Dana Thompson said she was disappointed by Cook's actions.

"I think it's important for education leaders to set a good example and not plagiarize," she said. "He very much presented (the remarks) as his own."

The Orange County schools' code of conduct defines plagiarism as "the copying of wording, language, thought, idea of another and representing it as one's own work."

Any work that is found to have been plagiarized receives a grade of zero, and the student involved can receive a short-term suspension.

A transcript of the speech posted on the Web site of the Department of Health and Human Services says Shalala delivered the speech June 6, 1998, at Madison West High School's commencement in Madison, Wis.

The speech outlined 10 "deep thoughts" from "Titanic," such as: "Be prepared. If you book a cruise on an unsinkable ship, pack a wet suit."

Cook's speech outlined seven of those "deep thoughts," all of them nearly identical to Shalala's. Both speeches also have the same introduction and conclusion, and told students to "make each day count."

"I can still recall my own high school graduation," Cook said. "The relief. The hugging. The tears of joy. And that was just the teachers."

Shalala said the same thing, according to the transcript.

Orange High valedictorian Carynne McIver said she heard Tuesday that Cook's speech wasn't his own. While she assumed he had written it, she would have been satisfied with it if he had given credit to Shalala.

"I wasn't offended, but disappointed," said McIver, who also delivered an address. "He didn't even take the time to write a speech for us. It's an honor to speak at graduation."

Board member Delores Simpson was reluctant to criticize Cook.

"I'm sure he didn't mean any harm," she said. "He had his reasons, and he's the only one who knows why he chose that particular speech."

Cook said he did attribute to author Robert Fulghum some remarks he made earlier that day at Cedar Ridge High School's graduation. He said he did add his own touches to the Orange County High speech, such as asking students to remember Memorial Day.

He said he didn't think at the time that he needed to attribute the rest of the comments. He said the "Titanic" analogies sat well with him because he had just watched the movie.

"I didn't think I was doing any harm," Cook said. "It's probably too late to atone for it."

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Atlanta Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Iran



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.