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Monday, November 25, 2013

Chapel Hill High principal addresses plagiarism allegations

Posted by on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Embattled Chapel Hill High School Principal Sulura Jackson addressed the allegations of plagiarism in a recorded phone message this weekend, apologizing for the distraction caused by the controversy and pledging proper citation in the future.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools spokesman Jeff Nash confirmed Monday that parents and staff at the Chapel Hill school received the message Friday night. Jackson is accused of plagiarism in school memos and letters both before and after her arrival in Chapel Hill this summer.

“Although I was saddened to hear it through the newspaper, I have heard the requests of this staff and community and, beginning now, I am committed to citing these sources, whether broad or specific, and modeling proper protocols for all to see,” Jackson said in the message.

Nash did not say whether any additional disciplinary action is pending for the principal. Multiple documents obtained by INDY Week show Jackson seemed to lift entire passages for letters and messages written in her capacity as principal at Chapel Hill High and her former school, Skyline High in Ann Arbor, Mich. Jackson would sign those passages herself and offer no citations.

Members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education have not returned multiple phone calls for comment on the controversy, which has angered parents and some staff at the school.

Jackson defended herself last week in the INDY, saying her actions do not qualify as plagiarism because she is not receiving compensation for that work or turning in her writing for a grade. That would seem to clash with her school's definition of plagiarism. According to the student handbook, plagiarism would denote "copying the language, structure, idea and/or thought of another person and representing it as one's own original work or using information obtained from printed or electronic media that is not appropriately referenced."

Here is Jackson’s recorded message in its entirety:

“Good evening Chapel Hill High students, parents and staff. This is Principal Sulura Jackson.

I'm calling this evening to tell you about an important lesson I learned this week regarding the value of always citing sources in newsletters and other internal correspondence that goes out to staff. Throughout my career, I have made a practice of implementing a variety of resources, including books, online tools and even public access templates specifically designed for educators to use in communicating.

Although I was saddened to hear it through the newspaper, I have heard the requests of this staff and community and, beginning now, I am committed to citing these sources, whether broad or specific, and modeling proper protocols for all to see.

As always, I am happy to entertain any questions about my intentions or sources and I apologize for any distraction this may have caused.

Thank you for listening and have a great weekend.”

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