I come from the old school way of thinking which is, if it isn’t your work and thoughts then don’t try and pass them off as if they were. I also think if you are the principal of a high school then you should set the example and not plagiarise to your students.
My daughter came in the other day laughing about how a Canberra school principal was recently caught by his students plagiarising his annual reports in the year book. She found it particularly amusing because her older sister briefly attended the school. We own a hardcopy of one of the yearbooks and could verify that the principal’s message was plagiarised.
Whereas my youngest daughter thought the whole thing was a joke my eldest who is a hardworking and dedicated student was very upset. “It’s wrong and really unfair,” she told me and said she felt as if she had been wasting her time researching, organising and writing when she could have just handed in “wiki-sandwiches”. A wiki sandwich is where a student writes the introduction and conclusion and copies the rest from a website like Wikipedia. This best describes the plagiarism in these reports. One of the three reports looks to be almost 90% copy and paste. I can tell my daughter has taken it to heart and become, for the first time in her life, jaded.
When I pack my kids off to school I tell them that the teacher is probably right and that rules are rules and they are there for everyone. I know most parents don’t scrutinize every page of our kid’s yearbooks and newsletters but some of our kids do and it’s a sad thing to think they would open it up and find out their parents are shmucks and their headmaster is unaccountable and doesn’t give a toss.
I urge parents to pull out their kid’s old yearbooks and read them, type some key phrases into Google and find out if the principal of your child’s school dabbles in deceit and duplicity. You can report it here or here. My view is that a school principal sets the example and should be modelling academic excellence and personal integrity to his or her school community. Plagiarism is central to these virtues and to be fair if schools can flunk students for plagiarising then perhaps we need to flunk and flush a few principals who do the same.