PITTSFIELD TWP. — Lorain County Joint Vocational School Superintendent Glenn Faircloth has been reprimanded for an August plagiarism incident in which he copied parts of an online post written by a New York superintendent and used them as part of an update he wrote for the JVS website.
Faircloth declined to comment after the written warning he received was announced Thursday during a JVS Board of Education meeting by board President Rex Engle.
Engle could not provide a copy of the disciplinary letter Thursday, but said it made clear that Faircloth’s actions were improper.
“It indicated that there was an error made and we don’t expect errors like that to be made,” Engle said.
Faircloth posted his update in late August and acknowledged that he copied much of it from a back-to-school message written by Kenmore Town of Tonawanda Schools Superintendent Mark Mondanaro a few years ago.
Although Faircloth made some changes and included three sentences dealing with issues at JVS, much of his posting was the same to what Mondanaro wrote, including a misspelling. Faircloth rewrote parts of some sentences.
Mondanaro, for instance, wrote, “In summer we experience cool and comfortable temperatures thanks to Lake Erie acting as Mother Nature’s air conditioner. Fall ushers in a rainbow of colors through spectacular foliage as forests became nature’s canvass, bright leaves her brush. The steady snowfall of our winter season affords us the opportunity to enjoy, celebrate, and appreciate family friendly outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. Hope springs eternal as flowers bloom in spring, the air warms, and we look forward to summer once again.”
Faircloth’s first few lines were similar.
“This past year we experienced cool and comfortable temperatures thanks to Lake Erie acting as Mother Nature’s air conditioner,” Faircloth wrote. “Fall ushers in a rainbow of colors as spectacular foliage becomes nature’s canvass; bright leaves acting as her brush. The steady snowfall of our winter season affords us the opportunity to enjoy family friendly activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. Hope springs eternal as flowers bloom in spring, the air warms, and we look forward to summer once again.”
Faircloth said in August that he didn’t consider what he did plagiarism because he didn’t receive any benefit from copying Mondanaro’s words. He said it would be different if a student had done the same thing and turned in the paper for a grade.
Engle said Thursday that there are two different views of what exactly constitutes plagiarism. One view, he said, is
that it’s plagiarism whenever someone appropriates someone else’s language without attribution. The other attitude is that it only becomes plagiarism if someone tries to get credit for the copied work, he said.
Still, Engle said Faircloth has apologized to Mondanaro, the school and others for the incident.
“He’s acknowledged that he probably should have given credit for the words he took from the superintendent in NewYork,” Engle said.
Mondanaro has said that while he was flattered by what Faircloth did, he would have considered it plagiarism if he had done the same thing himself.