Mansfield Superintendent resigns amid plagiarism scandal

 By: Alexandra Cowley 

The Mansfield superintendent at the center of a plagiarism scandal announced her resignation today. Brenda Hodges has been superintendent in the Massachusetts school district for 14 years. But, after recent accusations she plagiarized a graduation speech, she decided to step down.

It was the speech given at Mansfield High Schools’ graduation ceremony that eventually led to Superintendent Brenda Hodges resignation. The statements Hodges made in the speech, threw her credibility into question. Accusations began to swirl that pieces of her speech were taken from Navy Admiral William McRaven, in a commencement address he gave at the University of Texas. Admiral McRaven is known for organizing the raid that led to the death of Osama Bin Ladin.

Superintendent Hodges says she never saw McRaven speak and that she took the ideas from someone else, from whom she’d asked permission. Still, a petition for her resignation was started, as well as an investigation by the school committee. Now, more than a month later, Hodges posted a resignation letter on the school’s website.

One student said, “It’s not right she should have gotten punished for what she did. Other kids get penalties on their record and she got nothing for it.”

“I think she’s a coward for doing so,” said another Mansfield sophomore. 

In her letter she apologizes for not crediting the source in her speech.

Hodges goes on to say; “I do not believe the school system can continue to make the progress it has made if this issue remains a distraction. As a result, I am submitting my resignation to retire on June 30, 2015.”

Hodges will take a year of medical leave for an injury in which she will continue to receive pay. According to a town report, she made nearly 170 thousand dollars for the 2013 school year.

Students feel she was let off easy.

“They should have fired her to show that it wasn’t right and they shouldn’t have let her resign,” said Taylor Allen.

“Something had to be done, I mean it does look better for her record that she resigned. Hopefully shell learn from it,” said grandparent Amanda Crosby.

Superintendent Hodges will work through August 29th before taking a year of medical leave. The school committee chairman says they’re already looking for an interim superintendent and replacement.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014