Slander and Libel for School Law
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Rescooped by Sarah Baumberger from Higher Education Leadership in Community Colleges!

Calif. Student Sues Teacher, District Over C+ Grade

Calif. Student Sues Teacher, District Over C+ Grade | Slander and Libel for School Law |
A C+ is considered average on the grading scale but for one California high school student it was well below average, enough so that he filed a lawsuit against both his teacher and school district.

Via Angel Rodriguez
Sarah Baumberger's comment, August 31, 2012 8:10 PM
This article explains how a high school student sues his teacher and school for giving him a low grade. According to chapter six students can't generally sue their teachers upon this action. The courts reasoning for this is that students do not have the expertise to evaluate teacher accuracy in grading. A similar case in Vermont was rejected by the federal district court after a college medical student claimed his failing grade should be changed. It is important for teachers to understand their power of grading and not give in to student or parent complaints.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 1, 2012 8:12 PM
This is a good choice for the topic--in what way do you think a grade could be considered libelous? Did the grade affect the student's reputation? I appreciate that you cited two relevant law cases in interpreting this suit--In future, you could take it one step further in telling your readers the actual cases from which you derived your argument. I agree that this is an important issue as we can all agree that one problem we have in this country is grade inflation--if teachers feel threatened by law suits for issuing grades that reflect academic standards, grading integrity will continue to degrade.
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Choir teacher files libel suit against school, newspaper « Student Press Law Center

A teacher at Churchill County High School in Nevada filed a lawsuit against the Churchill County High School district, among others, claiming an article in the student newspaper, The Flash, has damaged her reputation.

Vikki Howard's comment, September 1, 2012 8:17 PM
yes, truth is considered sufficient to counter libel suits. But truth exists in degrees and in the nooks and crannies of hyperbole, lie the seeds of litigation. Citation of the Pika case is appropriate here--in what way does the Pika case illuminate our understanding of publicized defamation? If the claims in the article are not true, how does the content constitute defamation?
Ashli Watts's comment, September 1, 2012 9:29 PM
In this article a teacher files a lawsuit against the school newspaper's article claiming that it hurt her reputation. The article discussed a parents claim against the teacher saying that she didn't submit all of the audition tapes for the all star choir but instead just a select few from the students.
This is similar to the Pitka case in the only fact that these statements could be taken on their face. After a New York case courts have found this to be applied to written or recorded statements because they are considered permanent and cause more damage. This, however only applies to certain states. Some say that anything that fall under the 4 categories of libel can be considered defamatory.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 2, 2012 6:33 PM
Ashli--I can tell you considered this case against the principles of libel to determine the legitimacy of the choir teacher's claim. I could not tell what your conclusion was, would she likely prevail and why. You could be more explicit in your explanation--for example, to what "4 categories" do you refer? and how do these principles of defamation apply?
Rescooped by Sarah Baumberger from Slander and Libel in Education!

Student’s Facebook Tirade Against Teacher Is Protected Speech

Student’s Facebook Tirade Against Teacher Is Protected Speech | Slander and Libel for School Law |
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...

Via Kayla McKenney
Vikki Howard's comment, February 25, 2012 7:51 PM
What legal principles would you have used to decide this case?
Sarah Baumberger's comment, August 31, 2012 7:46 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 8:22 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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Law Professor Accuses Students of Defamation - New York Times

Law Professor Accuses Students of Defamation - New York Times | Slander and Libel for School Law |
At the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, a law professor has sued two of his students, alleging that they defamed him by unfairly describing him as a racist.

Via Andee Anderson
Sarah Baumberger's comment, August 31, 2012 3:12 AM
This article is important for teachers to understand. It deals with student statements that a professor sees as defamatory on the face. He reasons this as the comments of him being racist, have the potential to ruin his reputation as an award winning professor of the law. Chapter 6 states that statements that are defamatory on the face are those who injure an individuals reputation. It will be interesting to see if the professor wins his case because he should be quite familiar with the law. If the statements are false he should win similar to the case of a N.Y. principal sued for school accusing him of poor administration (p.83-84).
Vikki Howard's comment, September 1, 2012 8:26 PM
I like your reasoning Sarah--An accusation of racism rises to the level of a violation of constitutional law (14th Amendment which guarantees equal protection)--and would certainly harm the professor's reputation. You included both principles of libel and explanation of a relevant court case in your argument--so it will be interesting to see if the courts agree with you.
Vikki Howard's comment, September 3, 2012 5:22 AM
This article is a good did a nice job of summarizing, the details, and made a good effort at adding reference to other cases of defamation. Can you say why this case may or may not prevail? The case may hinge on three things; truth, malicious intent, and damage to reputation or professional standing