Indianapolis Public School Board candidate Ramon Batts used material from the ACLU and two other organizations in replies to a survey by the education publication Chalkbeat.
He says it’s because he was up late, Hayleigh Colombo reports:
“That’s what happens when you’re doing things at 1 or 2 a.m,” said Batts.
Someone working for his campaign helped him compile the research before he sent in his responses, he said, and the citations to those sources were accidentally left off when he submitted the survey.
“It’s something I should have seen and caught,” he said.
However it happened, Batts’ plagiarism is a reminder that lifted text isn’t just a problem in journalism. It pops up surprisingly often at the intersection of education and public life:
- Chris Spence, the director of education for the Toronto District School Board, resigned last January after plagiarizing in pieces for the Toronto Star and, apparently, his dissertation. Spence later decided to fight plagiarism charges at the University of Toronto “because the ‘university took too long to process the matter’ and did not have permission to run the thesis through the anti-plagiarism website turnitin.com,” Chris Fox reported for CP24.com.
- Ralph Taylor resigned from DeKalb County, Georgia’s school district the same month after it emerged he’d plagiarized “more than a third” of a 15-page report he’d compiled for the district when he was a consultant.
- Yellowstone County, Montana, Superintendent of Schools Max Lenington plagiarized in letters to the editor at several Montana newspapers in the summer of 2013. Lenington later got busted for using a racial slur in an email sent from his county account and sent yet another letter to the Billings Gazette, this time with racially charged language. He remains in office.
- Jaime Moody resigned as principal of Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School last August after revelations that her job application contained plagiarized material. Before that she “extensively plagiarized a Forbes magazine column on leadership in her first memo to the staff.”
- Glenn Faircloth, the superintendent of a Lorain County, Ohio, vocational school, apologized after he posted a welcome note to students, parents and staffers that was largely plagiarized from a note written by another superintendent in New York.
- Chapel Hill (North Carolina) High School Principal Sulara Jackson used “passages without citation in staff memos, letters to students and even recommendation letters for colleagues, frequently passing them off as her words,” Billy Ball reported for Indy Week in November of last year. The next month Ball reported that Jackson’s resignation letter from a previous school district used “essentially the same language” as a “January 2010 news article announcing the departure of a California school principal.”
Free resource: Is it original? An editor’s guide to identifying plagiarism