The (Hopefully) Final Melissa Elias Chapter

As the Rose City Blog initially reported and, now, The Madison Eagle is confirming, Melissa Elias has resigned as a school board member.

As you may recall, Elias was a former Madison, New Jersey school board president who plagiarized from Anna Quindlen in her commencement address. The address, which was given on June 23rd of this year to graduates of Madison High School. was “inspired” by an address that Quindlen gave six years earlier in South Hadley, Mass.

Initially, after the school board passed a vote condemning the plagiarism, she resigned her presidency but remained on the board as a regular member. She apparently thought better of the plan and, on August 4th, resigned her position altogether, even though the other school board members admitted that they could do nothing to oust her.

However, Elias didn’t slip quietly into the night. As the Rose City Blog reports, Elias laced her letter with some nasty salvos directed at the school board including this one:

“I wish that you had been courageous enough to accept my apology, had the integrity to admit to your mistake in handling this situation and had taken responsibility for your action which might have led to a very different conclusion than losing a valuable contributor to the Board’s quality and purpose.”

Though it’s highly amusing to hear Elias talk about integrity and courage, it’s an even better showcase of the attitude of a plagiarist. It’s pretty clear that Elias doesn’t believe she did anything wrong and is being punished unfairly. She apparently feels that a half-hearted apology and some talk about making “mistakes” makes it acceptable for a school board president to plagiarize.

That sets a very poor example for the children in the system. However, I’m glad to see the school board, and the community, stepping up to set things straight.

We can all hope that this is the last, albeit most pathetic, chapter in the Melissa Elias saga. It’s time that the community and the school board got to move on from this. They did nothing wrong and have other things to focus on.

For one, teaching the students how to write original works that everyone will be able to enjoy.

[tags]Plagiarism, Melissa Elias, Ann Quindlen, Education[/tags]

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