FLORENCE, Mont. -

Some Florence area residents have an online petition to remove the school district's superintendent of schools. The petition calls for John McGee to resign or be terminated.

It stems from admitted plagiarism by John McGee. McGee told the school board he plagiarized an article on school safety for the school newsletter. But McGee said he never intended to put his name on it.

McGee said he was inspired by an article written elsewhere on school safety and violence and decided to put it in the school newsletter.

He said Florence School was substituted for another school in Georgia, where the article was written. But the superintendent said he never intended to take credit for the piece.

The article did, however, go out as written by John McGee. McGee's administrative assistant said the superintendent did not attach his name to it.

"I did," she said. She said she thought McGee had written it.

The superintendent said after publication he saw the mistake, but because there was a deadline to get the paper out, he said he decided to let it go.

He said people had been calling asking when the letter would be coming out.

"That was stupid," said McGee. "I wish I could take that back and revisit that decision because I made that decision based on the expedience of trying to get the news letter out to the public when in fact I should have taken more care for accuracy."

Among the comments posted on Facebook about the superintendent.
-A disappointing embarrassment.
-Teaching children to cheat and cover up.
-Sets a bad example.
-Ruining Florence.

McGee has been superintendent for eight years. So he does have supporters. But in those years he has had vocal detractors too. Others are more moderate.

"I like our superintendent," said parent Cynthia Skeers. "But I am also doubtful of some integrity issue based on things that have been raised."

McGee wrote to the original author of the article and apologized. He said he hasn't heard back.

One parent said she is transferring her children to another school. But others said McGee has been good for the school district.

The Montana Department of Public Instruction reports Florence Carlton High School has the highest graduation rate in the county.