Slander and Libel in Education
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Slander and Libel in Education
Legal issues regarding Slander and Libel amongst educators and students
Curated by Kayla McKenney
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School Law Part 5

John Dively leads a seminar presenting and answering questions relating to school laws.
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Kayla McKenney's comment, February 16, 2012 12:59 PM
This is a very educational clip regarding slander and libel in schools. Some of the points made are very important, as the questions asked were being asked by teachers. He also makes some points about statutory laws that differ from state to state.
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:38 PM
What information/points did you learn?
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Slandering a School?

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Kayla McKenney's comment, February 16, 2012 1:42 AM
This is important for educators to know because in this particular case, a former teacher was accused of slandering a school as a whole. Some would say this doesn't make sense because the former teacher was making remarks about specific faculty members, but if there are enough of the faculty members being slandered and the school is non-governmental, the school can become the plaintiff.
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:40 PM
explain..the fact that a teacher has resigned, does not free him/her of defamation charges--what was it about the remarks that made them slanderous?
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Abuse charges dropped against Molalla principal

Abuse charges dropped against Molalla principal | Slander and Libel in Education | Scoop.it
The news comes as Crystal Ricker, the wife of Molalla High School Principal Kevin Ricker, was found dead in her West Linn home Sunday in an apparent suicide. She had accused her husband of abusing her but later retracted that.
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Kayla McKenney's comment, February 16, 2012 1:19 AM
This topic is important to educators because it shows how your personal life can affect your career. This happens to be my high school and this all happened during my senior year. Although there was no actual case against Mr. Ricker, I can tell you from personal experiences that a lot of students viewed him in a very different way after this all came about. The sad thing is that nobody knows, or will ever know, what actually happened before the death of his wife, but because of his position at the school and the media coverage he got, many people assume the worst. I feel that this would be a good example of defamation of character because of that.
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:41 PM
what would make these comments defamation? other than reputation being affected? would truth be a defense?
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US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Cyber-bullying Case - Ethics Sage

What is the Solution to Regulating Student Cyber-bullying Attacks? The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take two cases involving three separate incidents involving free speech protection for public school students on the Internet.
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Kayla McKenney's comment, February 16, 2012 12:34 AM
This information is important to teachers because it shows that even if you feel that you have been slandered or libeled, it doesn't always necessarily mean that you are correct. There are many things that come into play. It is good to know that students can do this kind of thing to you, and sometimes, you just need to know not to take things to heart. Yes, the things this students did was awful and very damaging to the school staff, yet their cases were thrown out. The legal principles in this case are that the students did not commit libel because the Myspace pages did not interfere with running the school. This article discusses a lot of statutory laws because each state has their own specific legislation regarding these topics.
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:46 PM
Agreed--you have captured a very important issue now sweeping our schools--that is, students have great range in freedom of expression--even to the degree that most of us would consider damaging to reputation, criminal accusation, malicious, and extreme sexual deviancy as well as fals--yet the courts have been reluctant to protect teachers -- some states are beginning to respond with legislation, but this is a much larger social issue
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Teacher recourses for slander? - ProTeacher Community

Teacher recourses for slander?ARCHIVE...
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Kayla McKenney's comment, February 16, 2012 2:18 AM
This conversation is a good thing for teachers to read. I feel that what these teachers discussed made valid points that made sense. A few comments down, there are a couple good links for teachers to view to get more educated on the laws regarding these topics. I also agree with the comment that said it is important to talk to a lawyer before making any harsh decisions. The main thing is to become very educated on what it is you as a teacher are trying to fight and then seek legal help.
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:47 PM
Agreed--know your rights--but more importantly, we should work to mitigate the type of behavior that is rampant
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A JANITOR SUES FOR SLANDER. - Egan Wants School Commissioner Delaney to Pay $20,000. - View Article - NYTimes.com

Thomas M. Delaney, a Brooklyn School Commissioner, who had the temerity last Fall to Oppose Janitor James J.
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Kayla McKenney's comment, February 16, 2012 1:33 AM
I found this article to be rather interesting. It is an example of how slander has been around for a long time. Educators would be intrested in knowing about this article because it is a decent example of how one comment you make can turn into something much larger. It is important to think about what you say about someone in order to avoid cases like these.
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:48 PM
I agree with your opinion, what legal points did you learn about in this case?
Bo Herak's comment, September 3, 2012 9:26 PM
In this article a Janitor was being fined for storing school property away from school and got caught and knew that he was breaking the rules. During his heraing on this the school official made some bad comments about him. The Janitor then went to his lawyer which is a smart move to know your rights then go to someone like a lawyer that knows the laws. HIm and his lawyer are sueing for $ 20,000 dollars in back pay and damages. This is a good article for teachers to read to about slander and how it can be used against a person in schools.
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Student’s Facebook Tirade Against Teacher Is Protected Speech

Student’s Facebook Tirade Against Teacher Is Protected Speech | Slander and Libel in Education | Scoop.it
The score is 2-1 in favor of the First Amendment when it comes to three federal rulings this month on the limits of students' online, off-ca...
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Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:51 PM
What legal principles would you have used to decide this case?
Sarah Baumberger's comment, August 31, 2012 2:46 PM
This case sounds similar to a case mentioned in chapter six, where 2 Texas high school students created a false MySpace page for a teacher they disliked. To this point most libel cases related to website or online references have not been found as a right to sue for defamation. The students have First Amendment rights stating a right to free speech and can not be diminished outside of a school setting. The previously mentioned case was dismissed by the Texas Court of Appeals, therefore I presume this teacher to see the same fate.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 1, 2012 3:22 PM
I concur--the courts have been loath to step into this ugly virtual morass because, I believe, the implications for constraining First Amendment rights. However, many states have jumped in with legislation and schools, in spite of judicial reluctance to affirm libel, often do punish students for virtual bullying. I suspect, given the volume, professional and emotional harm done by students using social networking as a weapon--there will eventually be a serious legal undertaking of this question. I prefer that we learn to settle this issue in more positive and proactive ways, but we are far behind the curve on this issue.
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Tweeting leads to arrest of 12-year-old

Tweeting leads to arrest of 12-year-old | Slander and Libel in Education | Scoop.it
Arkansas, like many states, has criminalized bullying online. Cyberbullying is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
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Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 2:53 PM
yes, going to jail is certainly a reprimand--not sure a week in jail is the answer...this has me very worried -- the law does support suits when reputations are harmed--but do they protect self-esteem?
Marcus McCaughey's comment, September 1, 2012 11:19 PM
In today's societ cyberbully is in full force and most teachers and parents have no idea that it is going on. Cyberbully can and is much more harmful to students and the playground bullies were when most of us were kids. Teachers need to be able to see the signs of cyberbulling and stop it before it even starts. This case is very important to see because it shows how important to stop cyberbullying and the consquences if one is caught cyberbullying.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 3, 2012 11:42 AM
Marcus, I agree with everything you have said. And, I agree that cyberbullying should be considered under this topic--however, it unclear to me where you make the connection. That is, what is cyberbullying? How does this behavior cross the line into libel? What protections are in place related to libel law--if any?