Colorado principal resigns after admitting plagiarism in graduation speech

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(HLNtv.com) — A Colorado principal has resigned after admitting that he plagiarized a best-selling book in parts of his speech to a class of 2014 graduates, according to the Longmont Times-Call.

Don Haddad, superintendent of St. Vrain Valley schools, told the Times-Call that a member of the public told officials that the principal lifted more than half of his speech from “Lean In,” a 2013 book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer for Facebook.

HLN left messages with the St. Vrain Valley School District but has yet to hear back.

“It was Troy (Snyder)’s decision to resign,” Haddad told the Times-Call, explaining that the principal wasn’t fired over the speech, which he delivered at Mead High School’s graduation ceremony on May 24.

Haley Abbott, who was a freshman last fall, read part of the school’s student handbook to CNN affiliate KDVR.

“Submitting another individual’s work as your own is academic dishonesty,” she quoted. She went on to say that students have to read, memorize and write a report on the handbook. “Everybody’s, like, why would you tell us not to do that if you do that yourself?” she said.

“He’s an educator. He’s supposed to be somebody that our children look up to,” the student’s father, James Abbott, told KDVR. But he said he was happy that Snyder was “man enough to resign.”

Haddad told the Times-Call that he had only good wishes for Snyder: “Troy’s a good man, and I appreciate the many good things he did at Mead High School.”

Another high school principal also admitted this year to lifting parts of his graduation speech from another source. Matt Sanger from Garden Spot High School in New Holland, Pennsylvania, told Lancaster Online that he was inspired by David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” commencement address to Kenyon College in 2005.

“The inspiration came from his speech. I found it to be very moving and inspirational,” he said in an interview with the site over the weekend.

Sanger said his high school also gives warnings to students about using another author’s work without attribution.

“Looking back on it, in hindsight, I should have probably cited (Wallace) in my speech,” Sanger said.

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