Slandar and Libel of Education
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Slandar and Libel of Education
If You Doint Have Anything Nice to say, Say Nothing At All
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Former student sues Fla. district for libel over student newspaper photo - SPLC News Flashes

Former student sues Fla. district for libel over student newspaper photo - SPLC News Flashes | Slandar and Libel of Education | Scoop.it
Former student sues Fla.district for libel over student newspaper photo...
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Amy Nicole Gembala's comment, September 1, 2012 5:22 PM
Whenever a teacher uses a picture of a student in anything they need to receive permission, not only permission is needed but students and parents have the right to know what their picture is being used for. This is good for teachers to know and understand because some families do not like to have their child’s picture used outside of family occasions. If a picture is used in a way that would cause harm to a students’ reputation. This is important for teachers to know and understand so they can protect themselves from libel and slander. This case shows that by using a picture of a student is a violation of privacy. Buy using the picture to “ (1) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another; (2) appropriation of someone's name or likeness; (3) unreasonable publicity given to someone's private life and (4) publicity that unreasonably puts someone in a false light before the public” as stated on findlaw.com. Teachers should be aware of what exactly slander and libel are so they can avoid the possibility of hurting themselves, they can also know that when using a picture of a student they should get permission from both the student and the parents and explain what exactly they plan on doing with the picture.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 2, 2012 11:17 PM
I like the subtitle of your magazine! This is a perfectly appropriate article and brings up an important educational situation of libel. Note that permission in itself may be a separate issue. Strictly speaking, newspapers are not required to get permission, but in other forms of permission is needed--so I am glad you were careful to articulate the principles of law that pertain to permission--if a child is a minor, the parent(s) must give permission. Permission is not libel though, and in this case, the student sued for libel because of the juxtaposition of the photo with an article on sexually transmitted disease--implicating him along with the article. This could be considered defamation on its face--
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Teacher Slanders Against Student

Teacher Slanders Against Student | Slandar and Libel of Education | Scoop.it

Teacher slandered a student in everyone of his classes; Lied to principal and said student lied.

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Amy Nicole Gembala's comment, August 31, 2012 6:40 PM
The topic of slander against a student by a teacher is highly important for educators to know. Because no matter the degree of slander, if it is a joke or not, it is an unacceptable quality in a teacher. Regardless of tenure or not job title of teacher principal or administration, they can be sued for degrading a student. In the case of Davidson, by Next Friend v. Walter 35925. (93 Ga. App. 290) (91 SE2d 520) (1956)Where Dr. Walter an employee at student at Piedmont College in Habersham County interrogated and accused Davidson of stealing and lying in a slanderous manner. At one point he publicly told several other professors that Walter was a thief and a liar. These statements slandered Walter and ruined her reputation. What every school official and student should know, as put www.swarthmore.edu "If teachers knowingly spread false gossip that harms a student's reputation, they can be found guilty of slander.
A teacher's statements may be conditionally privileged if they are made as part of the disciplinary process or of the teacher's administrative responsibilities." A rule to live by: think before you speak and know your facts before you make accusations. When you have hot gossip about a student, do not spread it because it could come back to hurt your reputation.




Vikki Howard's comment, September 2, 2012 11:25 PM
Good infusion of related case law as well as principles of defamation including limited conditional privilege enjoyed by teachers. I could not tell if Davidson slandered Walter, or if Walter Slandered Davidson in the case described--but the point was made that either can harm the other's reputation with unsubstantiated claims of illegal or unethical behavior--and be subject to a suit. How would you apply these principles to the discussion thread from you scoop?
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Principal wins slander suit

Superintenedent presented a "fact sheet" that painted Higgins as a racist. The fact sheet caused defamation of character

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Amy Nicole Gembala's comment, September 1, 2012 12:36 AM
Don't like someone in your work place? Ask friends and co-workers to make false accusations? Or even disliking someone for their race? That is what happened in the case of King V. Rumsfeld and the article of principal being slandered. King V. Rumsfeld involved a few supervisors that counseled King about his teaching style. Then when King did not make much improvement Rumsfeld began to get fellow co-workers to find/create discriminatory motives where teachers created complaints, Carlson (previous supervisor) picked on him, pressuring subs into making critical review. In both the Principal slander case and the teacher slander case they are both of African-American race and had been accused of false defamatory statements. In Kings case there was found to be no racism present and he lost the case, the principal in the article won his suet and received money for compensatory damages and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. Keep your friends close and your enemies and always keep track of what people say if it can be used later to ensure a job or just as evidence.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 2, 2012 11:31 PM
Good scoop, Amy. This is a good example of an instance where character assault was found to be libelous (written fact sheet). You provided a good summary of the case--do you understand why this case rose to the level of libel? The bar is very high, yet Higgens prevailed in this case.
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Littleton Students Suspended After Senior Prank - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver

Littleton Students Suspended After Senior Prank - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver | Slandar and Libel of Education | Scoop.it
LITTLETON, Colo. -- Littleton Public Schools suspends four students and disciplines several others after a senior prank involving social media gets out of control. Thursday, May 10, 2012.
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Amy Nicole Gembala's comment, August 31, 2012 10:29 PM
Playing a prank on a fellow student is one thing, but pulling a prank on a teacher is another thing. Especially a prank that causes defamation and involves false statements. This topic is important for teachers to understand because what might seem like a innocent statement to you might make a difference between hired and fired to an employer. In the case Beussink v. Woodland R-IV School District, a student created a homepage about Woodland School on the internet from his home computer. The site could be accessed my others, a group of students and several teachers viewed the site. Beussink was critical of the high school administration and used vulgar language. The Principal saw the site and suspended Beussink first for 5 days then extended it to 10 days. Beussink claimed the suspension violated his 1st amendment to free speech and it violated his academic standing which caused him academic harm. The court decided the principal jumped to a conclusion too quickly and the plaintiff Beussink won the case. This case along with the students who created online profiles for their teachers created defamatory statements and/or fake statements that marred the teacher’s reputations and caused drama. In both cases, the sites were removed by the students. As Swarthmore.edu states "in these states, any written words that expose a person to hatred, ridicule, or abuse are defamatory on their face." When students or teachers are tempted to play a prank on someone they should really reflect on the consequences that could occur, how the statements could be interpreted by others, and are the repercussions worth it.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 2, 2012 11:35 PM
Another important case, as teachers, administrators and students are under assault via social media. In most cases--as in the one you describe here, the courts tend to lean toward First Amendment rights over defamation (as mentioned in the previous case, defamation bar is quite high). As teachers/administrators are considered public officials the bar is even higher--victim of defamation must prove that statements had malicious intent--very difficult to do.
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Education Week: Bullied Girl's Family Files Defamation of Character Lawsuit

Who sues kids for cyberbullying? A Houston lawyer does when his daughter becomes the target of a nasty video posted on Facebook, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Texas.
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Amy Nicole Gembala's comment, September 1, 2012 12:36 PM

From students bullying and using vulgar language to defame each other, to teachers defaming and bullying each other. It happens every day, all around us. But if teachers have their eyes and ears open they could see and hear the tells of something brewing. Whether it could have been the girls schemeing about creating the video of a fellow student to a teacher gossiping about another teacher. Educators need to be open to what is happening so they could possibly help to prevent an incident. The case of Brown v. Simmons involved a teacher that had been defamed by his superintended and was not allowed a name-clearing hearing that infringed on his due process rights. by defaming a teachers reputation, good name, honor, or integrity in connection to terminating him without a name-clearing hearing deprives that teacher of his constitutionally protected liberty interest. With all that said Brown did not allege any part of the "Stigma Plus" claim that would have helped him win his case of being defamed and wrongfully terminated. As Swarthmore.edu states “If a statement is defamatory on its face, the law assumes that an individual's reputation has been injured” Which I would believe should constitue a name-clearing hearing. Tying both the case and the article together teachers should know when and where is the time to make these statements (which is really never) and they should also be present enough to realize when students are causing a person reputation to determinate and then put a stop to it. As many of us have been told since we were in pre-school, put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if that happened to you? Not good right? Then please don’t do it.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 2, 2012 11:39 PM
As with the previous article, this suit highlights a major social issue. In this case, the action and suit takes place outside school--but, when there is a nexus, schools have tended to act to punish cyber bullyers; However, courts have been reluctant to rule against cyber-bullyers--states are responding to this epidemic by enacting laws that will allow victims (and schools) to go after malicious digital behavior