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Zeeland superintendent admits to more plagiarism | Education

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Zeeland superintendent admits to more plagiarism

ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) - The superintendent of the Zealand schools will keep his job, even though Dr. Dave Barry now admits to more than one instance of plagiarism.

"Use of another person's statement without attribution on more than one occasion," Dr. Barry acknowledged during a special Zeeland board of education meeting Thursday.

Superintendent Barry and board members will not say how many times he has taken credit for other people's work.

In the only instance made public, he submitted an article to a staff newsletter that was written by another author.

"We don't take this lightly," said board president Tom DenHerder.

After over three hours in closed session with Barry, the Zeeland board of education suspended the superintendent for two weeks without pay and put a letter of reprimand in his file.

"The Zeeland board of education does not condone plagiarism in the classroom, among the staff or in any part of the education process," said DenHerder.

The board also directed Dr. Barry to meet with students and explain why plagiarism is not tolerated so they don't follow his example.

"What I did was wrong," Dr. Barry told the board. "I have fallen short of the mark and feel I have let a lot of people down."

Board treasurer Carol Slagh was the only member to vote against the two week suspension.  She thinks Dr. Barry should step down.

"With more than one instance of plagiarism I thought there should have been a resignation," she explained after the meeting.

"I ask for your forgiveness," said Dr. Barry. "I apologize for bringing shame to the district. It won't happen again."

Dr. Barry is in his first year as Zeeland superintendent and earns $160,000.

The two-week suspension without pay will cost him about $6,154 in salary.

The scandal came to light earlier this month when Barry sent a message to the district staff in a monthly newsletter.  In fact, most of the message comes word for word from a blog titled "I Hope You Dance," written by Mike Rutherford, an educator who runs a consultant group for teachers and other school leaders.

Barry read a statement after the board made its decision:

The school board was in a tough position and I respect the decision they made today. I hold this Board in high regard. During my stay here I have witnessed them painstakingly examine every issue placed in front of them. And that was the case today.

My use of another person's statement without attribution on more than one occasion was careless and one that I deeply regret. I also realize that in life, everyone makes mistakes and faces moments where they fail to live up to their own values and expectations. I have fallen short of the mark and I feel like I have let a lot of people down.
Again I take full culpability for my actions: and ask for your forgiveness

•What I did was wrong.
•I apologize for bringing shame to the district.
•It won't happen again.

Needless to say, I have learned a lot about leadership in the last two weeks. It is crucial that we all move ahead with the strategic goals of the district . I also wish to thank my family, friends, staff and community members who stood by me.

It is and has been a privilege and honor to serve the students, staff, and parents of Zeeland Public Schools. I sincerely hope everyone involved can move forward from this point and recommit to the excellent education offered at Zeeland Public Schools.

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