Slander and Education
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Winder teacher sues over dismissal | Online Athens

WINDER - A former Winder high school teacher is suing the Barrow County School District for coercing her to resign because of her Facebook page, she said.
Morgen Thacker's comment, September 2, 2012 12:10 AM
This article does not necessarily focus on slander or libel but it does talk about a law suit of a teacher and the issue being one that we have been discussing in our text book. The teacher in this article in my opinion should have been more awar of her rights. I am very thankful for this class because of all the things that it has taught me and I am hoping that learning these things will keep me out of the position this particular teacher is in. Also, after reading from my textbook I have concluded my own opinion on this law suit and I think that the plaintiff (the teacher) is going to win. First of all her claim to a fair trial is rightfully made, second, her actions were done outside of the school, never on school grounds, and her actions did not affect her ability to teach in any way. I would say that the teacher has a good chance at fighting her case.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 4, 2012 1:04 AM
We actually used this case in one class for our mock trial, and came to the same decision you made. Depending upon the comments made by the principal/superintendent in this case, there might actually be a defamation case, as this teacher has had a hard time getting a job since the dismissal based upon the publicity from the case. What do you think? Is there or is there not a case--why or why not?
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Gazette » We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore! Teachers Fight Back

Gazette » We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore! Teachers Fight Back | Slander and Education |
Morgen Thacker's comment, September 2, 2012 12:56 AM
This article was exciting to read. I was happy to see that teachers are fighting for their rights and making sure they get those rights. As a future teacher it makes me confident that I will be protected and have support if I ever get in a slander or libel predicament. I hope though that this will never happen to me but it's nice knowing I have sources.
This article also contained a few more articles about certain teachers their cases. Once I saw these various articles it made me nervous about that this could happen to me. You never know how you will effect someone or how they might take something you say. Trust is a huge thing and it kind of made me realize that I will just have to be professional and not let personal relationships affect this in any way. To explain this I mean, maybe I feel comfortable enough with one of my colleagues and I tell them something as a "friend" and they use it against me. This could get me in trouble, but this also doesn't mean I am going to not ever trust anyone I am just going to be professional at all times in every way.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 4, 2012 1:11 AM
Your comments are very well considered. Based upon the potential for lawsuits or potential for retaliation, many teachers avoid conflict and risk taking, when this is exactly what we need from our profession. We have been the brunt of political/social abuse for decades and the effect on our profession has been profound. It is time for educators to have the courage to take back our discipline, to speak out in the interest of children (and ourselves), and to bring dignity to our profession. We must not be cowed by fear--at the same time, as you say--Teachers must be respectful, professional and inclusive. Avoiding making comments that could misrepresent ourselves in any kind of public forum is a good practice--which means seriously self-censoring social media such as Facebook.

Several of the articles mentioned here are directly related to defamation suits filed by teachers--why did they win these cases?
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Rights and wrong: Using Facebook to defame teachers | Get Schooled

Can you use Facebook to defame a teacher?? Let's find out...

Morgen Thacker's comment, September 2, 2012 12:36 AM
This was a very short but interesting article. In chapter 6 of our textbook it says that derogatory statements about teacher on the Internet are most likely not reasons to sue for defamation. Unless these claims of being a "rapist" are true then this case will, based on what I have learned, not hold up in court. Although these claims are very de-naming and could ruin her reputation. I believe Facebook and the Internet are both being used more and more. Employers do look at applicant's or employee's Facebook pages. I am also part of the basketball program at Western and my coaches have told us to be careful with what we post on Facebook because it could have an affect on a huge part of your life. Our coaches even look at our pages and look at possible recruits pages. I am curious to see how this case ends up and if in the future their will be more definite laws on these mattesrs.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 4, 2012 1:15 AM
Excellent connection between this article and the principles of defamation discussed in our text. In fact, the courts have been reluctant to call written abuse on the internet libel -- leaning in favor of First Amendment rights. However, teachers and students are certainly harmed emotionally, professionally and sometime mortally. Rather than seek to curtail 1st Amendment rights, we should work to address the source of violence in social media. As a further point of analysis, you mentioned that only calling a teacher a "rapist," (as a false statement) would rise to the level of defamation--is this a case of defamation on its face? Why would this be unacceptable?
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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.
Morgen Thacker's comment, September 2, 2012 1:26 AM
This particular case involves a few different issues and sounds like it might get complicated. The school has to be involved because of where of the video was posted and the parents went to the school, the kids involved all go to the school, but it was made on the internet and is bullying considered slander? Also, another issue is; is what the students said an actual fact? After reading chapter 6 I understand that it has to be a factual statement made to be considered slander. This case sound like a special case and I can see it going further in the judicial system. These are all major issues and I hope that they can be solved with an answer.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 4, 2012 1:20 AM
To clarify--if a statement is factual/truthful--it cannot be slander. In other words, you cannot slander someone if what you say is true. Slander/libel occurs when a statement is false -- for example, if I said that one of my colleagues falsified grades -- this could be very harmful; if I can prove the falsification of grades then I am safe--If my comments are false--then I have slandered my colleague and potentially ruined their good name; cyberbullying is like using social media to slander teachers--again, the courts usually find that there is no "malicious intent" --but, there have been cases where children have been found guilty of slander. Did you find any instance of this?