The head teacher at Barrowford Primary School in the United Kingdom hoped to make her students feel better, and wound up inspiring pretty much everyone. Principal Rachel Tomlinson wrote a letter to her Barrowford students, included with the students' Key Stage 2 test results — equivalent to grades three through six in the U.S. — reminding them that they were "special and unique," regardless of test scores.
Unsurprisingly, as soon as the letter was posted online, the uplifting message spread like wildfire.
But, as usual, there were a few Debbie Downers who tried to burst everyone's bubbles. According to the Daily Mail, Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign For Real Education, former headmaster, and all-around curmudgeon, said of the letter: "They're undermining confidence that the children may have in the education system.... The message they're sending is that the examination results are in some way invalidated because there are other matters at stake. It's an indirect attack on the Government."
So, Tomlinson had read the research paper or blog post — so what? She was inspired, and wanted to convey the same message to her students. She never intended to publish the letter or have it reach beyond her classroom, so to call her out for plagiarism is irrelevant. What matters here — what we should all focus on — is the message of the letter: that everybody's special, no matter what a test score says.