Slandering and being held libel
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Former Coach Suing For Slander - KTUL (blog)

Former Coach Suing For SlanderKTUL (blog)Harris accuses former Athletic Director Stephanie Spring, former Assistant Athletic Director Jon Wheeler and current Assistant Athletic Director Latricia Pruitt of slander and libel.

A former basketball coach and teacher at Booker T. Washington High School is suing his former athletic director and seven others. Nate Harris accuses the defendants of making false and negative comments about him.

Harris accuses former Athletic Director Stephanie Spring, former Assistant Athletic Director Jon Wheeler and current Assistant Athletic Director Latricia Pruitt of slander and libel. Harris claims they and the others named intentionally spread false and negative comments about him in an attempt to discredit him among members of the Tulsa Public School Board.

The alleged crimes took place while board members were considering whether to name a new field house at Booker T. Washington High School in honor of Nate Harris. It was a proposal they eventually approved.

Harris is asking for $75,000 in punitive damages as part of his civil suit.

A similar suit close to home.  Chris Stetzner was the freshman boys basketball coaching who was promised the boys varsity head coaching position via verbal agreement.  When it came time to the name the coach, Chris' name wasn't on the list.  When Chris questioned why he wasn't a candidate he was told that he wasn't qualified.  Of course, ther rumor around town was Chris was providing alcohol to the players and always at the bars causing problems.  Chris Stetzner denies all of these allegations and sued the Athletic director and current boys varsity head coach.  He also sued the boys' junior varisity coach for slander.  It came out that the man who promised Chris the position was in deed the man who spread the rumors. 

Stories such as these can destroy a teacher's reputation.  He/she may leave the district and try to find another job, but with the word of mouth (which is very powerful) it may cause that teacher to become unhirable, even if it has been proven false.


Vikki Howard's comment, February 24, 2012 2:01 AM
good one Heather! This is clearly a related case...what do you think the outcome might be based on principles of defamation?
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Jury: Parent defamed Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary principal - Ocala

Jury: Parent defamed Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary principal - Ocala | Slandering and being held libel |

A jury has ruled that a parent who filed numerous unsuccessful complaints and lawsuits against the School District defamed the character of Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary School Principal Don Raymond in 2008.

Raymond's lawsuit alleged that Torrey wrote false e-mails to School District employees stating that supposed mistreatment of her son, which happened on the principal's watch, landed her son in the hospital.

“He (her son) will never be the same,” she wrote to a School District employee in 2008, the lawsuit states. “Tell that to Mr. Raymond. He (will) probably be thrilled that he really succeeded in hurting him permanently.”

Raymond's attorney, Bill Haldin of Ocala, said he was pleased with the verdict in what has been a very “long, unpleasant” three-plus years.

Haldin said the six-person jury found Torrey guilty of libel since her statement was written. If the jury found that the defamation involved the spoken word, the specific defamation would have been slander.

Raymond signed an agreement that he will give all money received as part of the jury award back to the School District. Porter said after hearing of that news, she is “happy” that the money was going back to district.

Torrey's campaign against the School District and Raymond began in the 2005-06 school year. Torrey said her son, who had fevers as a small child, was denied water on demand in his fourth-grade classroom at Dr. N.H. Jones.

She went to the office and told administrators that a doctor recommended her son should be allowed to drink water when needed to stay hydrated.

The next day, School District officials say, Raymond told the teacher to allow all children trips to the water fountain as needed. He also allowed children to have water bottles at their desks.

Torrey claimed the teacher turned up the heat in the room to punish her son. Though the teacher denied that, Raymond told the teacher to keep the room cooler.

Yancey and Raymond have always denied any wrongdoing. As a result of the incident, Torrey filed numerous lawsuits and complaints against the district, which has been vindicated in every case.

Torrey filed a federal lawsuit in April 2009. In summer 2010, a federal judge dismissed the case after Torrey, who was representing herself, failed to comply with orders to file motions and responses in a timely manner.

Yancey became weary of the verbal and electronic attacks on his staff in 2008 and wanted Torrey to stop the “harassment.” Yancey even fired off a letter to Torrey, saying she could only e-mail a few designees.

Since Yancey was an elected official, he couldn't sue Torrey personally. The district couldn't sue her either. But Raymond could — and did, for defamation of character.

Torrey, who did not return calls for comment, challenged the district's decision to bankroll Raymond's lawsuit.

A federal judge ruled that the financial backing was legal because the district's elected board is responsible for making decisions on how public dollars are spent.

As I browswed the internet, I read many different articles on principals being defamed, but this article jumped out as it also included emails being sent out by an irate parent gunning for the principal's job. 

A SCHOOL principal's reputation was destroyed by a parent with a "nasty vendetta" who sent a tirade of emails to other parents, education department officials and politicians in a bid to have her fired, a court heard yesterday.

In further emails to politicians and Department of Education and Training officials, Dr Premachandran alleged Ms Ryan was abusive towards his children and he feared she would harm them.

He also claimed other children were being "physically attacked" by teachers at the school and urged the DET to "take action as it could become life-threatening".

Ms. Ryan, who's been an educator for 42 years claims she's never once been abusive towards any students.  She became emotional and was distraught. 

Dr Premachandran stands by his allegations, claiming the defence of truth and has refused to apologise to Ms Ryan.

The hearing continues.

A way a teacher can use this case is to know that documenting everything is crucial!  One way the child's teacher may have been able to help the principal is by documenting every time the child when to the drinking fountian. 

As for the heat in the room, why didn't any other parent seem concerned.   Wouldn't you think their child would go home and complain the room was too hot and the teacher wouldn't let them get drinks? 


Vikki Howard's comment, February 24, 2012 2:05 AM
Great summary of the cases Heather--I agree that a teacher should get in the habit of documenting any event for which parental concerns might arise--in this case, there is no way a teacher might have anticipated this parent's complaints.