Palm Beach County’s top 3 plagiarism snafus

West Boca High School Principal Mark Stenner addresses seniors at their May 22 graduation ceremony. Credit: Palm Beach County School District

Melania Trump’s speech – was it plagiarism?

We realized – as so many things in Palm Beach – that there’s some connection to that issue here, and it’s been in the past year: In just the past year, Palm Beach County has seen at least three high-profile events concerning plagiarism. Here they are:
Plagiarizing principal
Former West Boca High teacher Mark Stenner used vast swaths of two popular speeches for two commencement addresses two years in a row. In the school district, students generally get an “F” when between 15 and 25 percent is taken without attribution.
Stenner was baffled at the brouhaha.
“Using copyrighted material or going word for word for the entirety of the speech. The speeches weren’t word for word, I took large chunks of them. The speech is famous on the Internet, it had a couple of million hits on YouTube, so I didn’t give it a second thought. … If I had used ‘Fourscore and seven years ago’ would I have needed to credit that author?”

And a soon-to-be school superintendent …
Anthony Hamlet, former Palm Beach County administrator and chosen superintendent to lead Pittsburgh school, used words that were not his own on his resume and during his first news conference.
“A successful superintendent has to satisfy many constituencies, keeping high achievers in the system while devoting resources to those who need them the most,” Hamlet wrote in his resume. It came from a February 2015 Washington Post editorial about a superintendent in Maryland.
Also, his issues about school grades.

And finally, ask not what you can do for your city
Steven Grant, Boynton Beach’s mayor, chose a great speaker to inspire his first public speech as mayor. He said he used John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address as a guide, got all ideas from him, changed some words around, but failed to tell anybody he did so — until he was asked by The Palm Beach Post.
Some excerpts:
JFK’s words: “For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.”
Grant goes on to say, “Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch is passed to a new generation of Americans, tempered by terrorism, disciplined by technology, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of human rights to which this nation has always been committed…”
The 33-year-old mayor is defending himself saying, “I don’t think that the whole having a speech at a legislative session requires me to cite my sources.”

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