Maryland School District Botches Grads' Diplomas

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Maryland School District Botches Grads' Diplomas
Maryland School District Botches Grads' Diplomas (ABC News)

Maryland's Prince George's County recently played host to the national spelling bee championship. .

They could have used the expertise of the young spellers when drawing up the school district's diplomas.

More than 8,000 graduating seniors in 23 high schools that comprise Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) were surprised to find a spelling error when they received their diplomas at graduation.

Diplomas read that the grads had completed "an approved progam of study" at their high schools, leaving out the second R in program.

"We sincerely apologize to our students and our parents," said PGCPS spokesman Briant Coleman.

Coleman said diplomas were developed by both the school system and printer, and that the misprint was an oversight.

He did not know the original cost of printing 8,000 diplomas, but the Washington Post reported that "the county paid $15,750 for the botched diplomas and an additional $6,587.50 for other certificates and shipping costs."

PGCPS' printing company, National Quality Products in Fairfax, Va., has agreed to cover the cost of the reprints, said Coleman.

However, not everyone noticed the mistake.

Delma Davis' daughter graduated from Bowie High School on May 30. Davis, who served as vice president of the 12th grade on the Bowie High School Parent Teacher Student Organization, said she was unaware of the typo.

"I had not even heard about it," she said of the blunder. "I've been around a bunch of picnics, the valedictorian was here yesterday visiting my daughter, and I didn't hear one thing."

Coleman said that graduates will receive their corrected diplomas by mail. He anticipates they'll arrive at students' homes in the next month.

"I think that overall, our students understand that mistakes happen and we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that this won't happen again," he said.

According to the school's 2011 report, PGCPS is the second largest school system in Maryland, and the 18th largest system in the U.S. overall.

The district isn't the only school system recently embarrassed by a spelling gaffe.

Sunrise McMillan Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, has had a sign reading Sunrise "McMillian" for nine years before anyone noticed the typo. And the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin had to apologize when the cover of their 2012 commencement program managed to leave out the L in "Public."