Demoss’ actions a disgrace

To address the July 11 suspension due to plagiarism in Mr. Kenny Demoss’ 2019 PHS graduation speech.

Mr. Demoss deliberately copied large phrases and even paragraphs of another’s speech and got caught. An apology issued by Demoss stating he didn’t get all his ideas from Mr. Ashton Kutcher and stating his apologies for offending people are not an apology. It is simply an acknowledgment of the offense, not an acknowledgement of wrongdoing. The second apology helped his cause, but that should not forgive him of his actions outright. It doesn’t matter who you are. Someone without academic integrity should not oversee an academic institution.

The issue of plagiarism being penalized with a suspension for a few days rather than a harsher penalty tells the students, as well as the community, that academic integrity is not a big deal. The lack of accountability ruptures the integrity of not only the principle, but that of the school board and those who should hold him to a higher standard. By holding him to a lower standard, we lower our own standards of what is and isn’t right. Plagiarism is not right. Copying ideas for your own use or benefit is not right.

Proper research techniques in citing your sources and using other’s ideas for inspiration are simple tools taught to high school and college students, with the penalty being suspension in high school, and suspension and possible expulsion in college. Why then do we hold those in charge of the students and institutions less accountable than the students themselves?

To quote Mr. Demoss in his 2018 graduation speech, “Accountability; take ownership of what you do, and the decisions you make.”

Anthony Borrelli