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New York Principal Caught Plagiarizing Huffington Post in Note to Teachers

© Cali4beachEmpty desks in a classroom
Empty desks in a classroom - Sputnik International
Unable to write a heartfelt note all by his lonesome, Principal Joseph Scarmato looked to a 2013 Huffington Post article for inspiration. A little too much inspiration, unfortunately: the entire published note - except for 57 words - wound up in his back-to-school letter.

Addressing the teachers of Tottenville High School, Scarmato wrote: "Go help kids learn, smile and belong. Ask hard and interesting questions. Try new things. Share what you're learning. Ask for help."

Sound familiar?

"We know not every day will be awesome. We work with kids. They are much like us, only at the beginning of their learning journey. It's our wisdom and care that they need," the letter, revealed to the New York Post Monday, said.

Tipped off by the familiarities within the letter, one concerned instructor enlisted the help of the same program teachers use to check the work of students for plagiarism. A few seconds later, the truth was revealed.

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Scarmato had copied the writings of Dean Shareski, a professor who wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post on the ideal message instructors would want to hear from their leadership at the beginning of the school year.

"I was shocked to find out he completely copied the letter to us and did not even credit the original author," the Post's anonymous source said via email. "I find this to be hypocritical, especially since he has instituted new regulations against students plagiarizing other's works."

The high school, located on Staten Island, works under New York City's discipline code, which can sentence plagiarism-committing students to anything from a minor punishment to a 90-day suspension, the Post reported.

Though officials from the NYC Department of Education told the outlet they did not plan to hand down any sentences to the principal, the guilty headmaster did admit to his wrongdoings.

"I admit that this was a bad judgement call and that I did not set a good example for my students and staff," Scarmato told the Post. "I apologize for my mistake and remain committed to serving my school community."

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