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Melania Trump’s lack of punishment for plagiarism sends students wrong message

Juliette Tafoya

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Melania Trump and Republican President candidate Donald Trump have been in the news for numerous reasons mostly around Donald’s speeches but never never before was Melania more relevant due to her plagiarism.

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Melania Trump and Republican President candidate Donald Trump have been in the news for numerous reasons mostly around Donald’s speeches but never never before was Melania more relevant due to her plagiarism.

When Melania Trump spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, many remembered the Democratic National Convention in 2009 when Michelle Obama gave a speech that was strangely similar to Trump’s, igniting a news storm.

In my view, Melania Trump should be punished for taking almost the same words from the First Lady. Of course, she would have to pay a fine for copyright issues, but she has enough money to pay for it with no problems. Unfortunately, there is no state or federal law that makes copying someone’s language an illegal crime, just an “academic crime.”

Only 6 percent of Trump’s speech was copied from Michelle Obama. That’s about 63 words from the First Lady’s speech she made back when current President Barack Obama accepted the nomination.

If it was law, Melania Trump should be sent to federal prison for copying one of the most powerful leaders in this country. However, because of different claims of who technically wrote the speech, people would beg to differ.

The speech Melania Trump read was not technically written by Trump. Although she claimed that she wrote almost all of her speech by herself with “little help,” the majority of it was written by a speech writer for her husbands presidential campaign.

“I believe someone sabotaged her speech,” freshman Arrayah Lacy said.

However, as a student about to go into college, I think this is not particularly fair to me and any other students that she receives no punishment. In school, the minute we plagiarize or cite something wrong, it’s an instant fail. And in college it’s even worse. Students can be suspended.

As people of the United States, we own up to our responsibilities and mistakes legally and morally. The American public would think that because of this scandal, it would hinder Donald Trump since his wife did not own up to her huge error. But, as usual, leaders of the Republican party tried to convince the public that it was a ‘mistake’. But really, the majority of the time when leaders defend someone, it’s to save their own party’s back.

However, this has not been the first time American leaders have copied from other works. Whenever someone in politics plagiarizes, it’s usually to help make a point. Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, one of Donald Trump’s former rivals for the Republican nomination, copied sources like SocialismSucks.net and others in his book, “America the Beautiful.”

Even the sitting leaders of our country have their fair share of scandals in plagiarism. President Barack Obama was accused of “borrowing” legal terminology from the former governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick. Vice President Joe Biden had to drop out of his presidential race back in 1988 because he took large pieces of text from leader Neil Kinnock in a paper he wrote when Biden was back in law school.

“Trump is the political leader, of course she won’t get in trouble. Melania is his wife, not a politician,” sophomore Brayan Herrera said.

If some politicians can get away with plagiarizing then why are students punished for the smallest of offences? Though people like Melania Trump who plagiarize spare themselves from punishments, their mistake leaves a trail of criticism repeated on them for years to come.

“If we get punished for plagiarizing someone and plagiarism gets on our personal records, we will be questioned on credibility for the rest of our lives,” senior Andrea Escamilla said.

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The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA
Melania Trump’s lack of punishment for plagiarism sends students wrong message