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Students catch school boss delivering graduation remarks borrowed from governor

A Boston area school superintendent is being docked a week’s pay after he was caught giving a high school graduation speech that borrowed passages from remarks Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick gave to college students a few weeks earlier without attribution.

According to the Boston Globe, David Fleishman, the superintendent of the Newton, Mass., public school system, was caught plagiarizing Patrick by a student who was present for both speeches.

The Newton School Committee on Thursday meted out the punishment, which amounts to about $5,000. Fleishman told the Globe he was wrong not to cite Patrick as the source of several lines in his speech. “That was my mistake,” he said. He said he heard Patrick's speech on the radio.

“That was my mistake.”

- David Fleishman, the superintendent of the Newton, Mass., public schools

Fleishman addressed graduates of Newton South High School on June 9. One of those graduates was Jordan Cohen-Kaplan.

In a July 23 special edition of Newton South High School newspaper, Cohen-Kaplan and fellow graduate Kylie Walters said five passages in Fleishman’s remarks sounded similar to those Patrick made at Boston University on May 18.

“It is disappointing and disillusioning to imagine that we cannot expect the best from the highest ranking Newton public schools officials, especially on a widely-attributed day designed to celebrate student achievement and serve as an education capstone,” Cohen-Kaplan and Walters wrote.

They pointed out that Newton students caught plagiarizing on an assignment get a zero.

Fleishman has been the superintendent since 2010. He earns $254,000 a year.

On July 16, another Massachusetts schools chief resigned after she was accused of delivering a graduation speech that plagiarized from a speech a Navy admiral gave at the University of Texas in Austin.

Mansfield superintendent Brenda Hodges tendered her resignation after saying the issue had become a distraction.

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