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Editorial: School board breaches trust over plagiarism scandal

File photo.
File photo.

Whether or not superintendent David Fleishman’s plagiarism was unintentional, as he claims it to be, it still runs counter to this school’s standards of academic integrity.

However, what is most worrisome in this situation is not Fleishman’s actions; it is the response of the Newton School Committee.

In the statement released after Fleishman’s plagiarism was revealed, the committee said it first became aware of the issue June 27, nearly a month before The Lion’s Roar made the issue public. It is unclear if the committee had had any intention of revealing Fleishman’s transgression.

According to the bylaws of the School Committee, the content of committee meetings must be made public 48 hours before they start. School Committee chair Matt Hills has admitted that the three committee meetings where Fleishman’s plagiarism was discussed were mislabeled as meetings to discuss collective bargaining.

While perhaps meeting its legal obligations, The Newtonite is still disappointed in the School Committee for its lack of transparency in this instance.

Regardless of any mislabeling, the School Committee should have made a point to announce to the public right away that such a serious mistake had occurred within their school district.

The Newtonite hopes and expects the School Committee to lead with honesty and transparency, and that they will do so from now on.

The School Committee may not have meant harm when they kept Fleishman’s plagiarism secret; however, it damages the integrity of the committee that Fleishman’s transgressions were kept in the dark.

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