Archive for Thursday, August 22, 2002

Superintendent resigns after plagiarism fiasco

August 22, 2002

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— Nearly seven months after a plagiarism controversy placed the Piper school district under a glaring national light, Supt. Michael Rooney has resigned, district officials said Wednesday.

The school board accepted Rooney's resignation Tuesday evening as part of a settlement agreement, board attorney Louis Clothier said. Rooney, 60, will be on a paid leave of absence until his contract expires June 30 and his resignation takes effect.

Rooney, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, became a key figure late in the plagiarism controversy after legal depositions painted a story somewhat different from the one he had provided earlier.

The depositions revealed that Rooney not the school board suggested in a closed-door session Dec. 11 that the failing grades of 25 students accused of plagiarism be softened. The board still played a role in that only one of the members, Leigh Vader, objected to the suggestion, according to the depositions taken by the Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office.

Rooney ordered biology teacher Christine Pelton on Dec. 12 to change the failing grades she planned to give biology students whom she accused of plagiarism.

Pelton, who resigned in protest, said Rooney told her the school board had ordered the change the night before in a closed-door meeting after hearing from angry parents.

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