Letter: Plagiarism is against the law and should not be tolerated

To the Editor:

The following letter was submitted to The Press and to the Ridgefield Board of Education:

We often hear “lead by example.” So what does our Superintendent of Schools do … plagiarize?

The definition of plagiarize as a transitive verb (from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary): to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source. As an intransitive verb, the word is defined as: to commit literary theft; present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

I have just completed reading Tom Moore’s letter to parents, students and staff of the West Hartford School district, dated Feb. 15, 2018, in regard to recent school shootings; and I have re-read a letter dated Feb. 22, 2018, from Dr. Karen Baldwin to the Ridgefield parent’s, students, and staff. I am speechless.

So I wondered: How does the Ridgefield Public School system view this type of behavior?

“Cheating and plagiarizing are not only academically dishonest but also a violation of ethical behavior and, as such, will not be tolerated …

“Plagiarism is against the law. Plagiarism consists of copying or paraphrasing the words or ideas of others without proper formal acknowledgement. No student may legitimately submit work as his or her own if it is the work of another or other persons.”

That’s from the Ridgefield High School Parent-Student Handbook 2016-2017.

And what are the consequences?

“Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the college.”

That’s from the Harvard College Handbook for Students 2017–2018.

I hope that the Ridgefield Board of Education will “lead by example” and move us all past this inexcusable disregard for the intelligence of the Ridgefield community.

Simon Mendez

Bloomer Road, Feb. 28

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