District 200 Supt. Attila Weninger said he made an error in not attributing a story he read to students last Thursday at the high school’s Memorial Day assembly to its author, presidential candidate John McCain, but insisted that what he did was not plagiarism.
Weninger said he decided to share the story at the assembly after an Oak Park and River Forest High School student e-mailed the piece to him and other administrators two weeks ago. He said it was a powerful piece that he wanted students to hear.
Before launching into the story, Weninger, who served as the assembly’s emcee, told students that he had a brother who served in the armed services, and then began telling the story without attributing it.
Weninger originally denied that he attributed the story to anyone, but late Wednesday, a recording of the assembly surfaced that shows Weninger attributing the story to his brother. The superintendent contacted Wednesday Journal with the information and sent out e-mails Wednesday evening to staff and the local press apologizing for this latest error. He said he does not remember attributing the story to his brother.
On Tuesday morning, Weninger explained the mistake to students in a statement read over the school’s P.A. system.
Weninger told Wednesday Journal on May 28 that he decided not to attribute the piece to McCain because he didn’t want to politicize the assembly. Weninger said he should have attributed the story to a Vietnam veteran.
Weninger sent out e-mails to staff last Friday explaining the error after some students who attended the ceremony raised questions about slip-up.
Wednesday Journal will have more coverage in next week’s paper