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  1. #1
    Suspect24 is offline Junior Member
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    Internet Slander vs. Freedom of Speech (when will the ACLU not defend someone?)

    PA

    There is a local high school where a student has created a website where anyone can go and rate a teacher and then post comments. The problem is that the comments are not being monitored by the site admin. I am talking about people saying things about teachers like "N*A*Z*I" and "sucked my [you know what]" and so on and so on. I know some of these teachers and even one kid has said that a teacher is abused by her boyfriend, which is me. The website hosting company is ignoring me and I have sent emails to the kid who created the site and he claims that there is only so much he can do to monitor the website, which I know is not true. He even invited a lawsuit by claiming that the ACLU will happily defend him, so I think he WANTS sued so he can see himself on TV as if the school was withholding his right to protest or something. I really think that some of this stuff is slanderous, but will the ACLU defend someone like this who is clearly in the wrong?
  2. #2
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suspect24
    PA

    There is a local high school where a student has created a website where anyone can go and rate a teacher and then post comments. The problem is that the comments are not being monitored by the site admin. I am talking about people saying things about teachers like "N*A*Z*I" and "sucked my [you know what]" and so on and so on. I know some of these teachers and even one kid has said that a teacher is abused by her boyfriend, which is me. The website hosting company is ignoring me and I have sent emails to the kid who created the site and he claims that there is only so much he can do to monitor the website, which I know is not true. He even invited a lawsuit by claiming that the ACLU will happily defend him, so I think he WANTS sued so he can see himself on TV as if the school was withholding his right to protest or something. I really think that some of this stuff is slanderous, but will the ACLU defend someone like this who is clearly in the wrong?
    **A: the ACLU defends civil rights so they may, if in their opinion they have a case.
  3. #3
    racer72 is offline Senior Member
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    The ACLU will not defend individuals in lawsuits. They will only give legal assistance to groups, organizations, or certain classes of folks. Tell the guy to call the ACLU, he will get a dose of reality.
    Last edited by racer72; 04-04-2005 at 11:53 AM.
    If you feel my answer is rude, mean, snarky or in anyway not to your liking, I did my job. You don't need to tell me.

    No private messages, I do not reply to them.
  4. #4
    meganproser Guest
    Even if the ACLU were to defend the students rights to have the site, they would not defend any posts that amount to defamation.

    This is going on all over the country. Do a search on "teachers defamation suit" or "schools defamation", etc.

    I'm waiting to see some teachers put up a site where they "rate" students (only those 18 or older of course).

    Is this kid a minor? I am assuming he is 18, otherwise you would have gone straight to his parents rather than wasting time on him.

    If the site is open to ANYONE, you are free to put up some information about defamation and your intention to sue anyone who makes disparaging false allegations against anyone.

    You could do this anonymously; so that none of the readers know WHICH staff member is threatening to take action.

    Just educate them all a bit about the rights of the teachers and the very high cost of defending a lawsuit. Don't forget to remind them that while they may be too poor to pay any judgment at this stage of their lives, the plaintiff can pursue the judgment against them for as long as they live.
    Last edited by meganproser; 04-04-2005 at 01:50 PM.
  5. #5
    CheeseBlotto Guest
    Open up a can of whoopass on him.
  6. #6
    Suspect24 is offline Junior Member
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    My original intent was to inform his parents about the site, but his identity is protected by the hosting company, so I can not do a Domain Name WhoIs lookup. I have a feeling that he is in college though, and was a previous student because he replied to my email during school hours, and the school has the website blocked.

    I am going to stop by the local ACLU today and ask them some questions. One of their employees is actually quoted in the newspaper as saying there isn't really much that can be done, but I have a hard time believing that.

    What if the teacher's union were to sue, as that would much more thretening but not an institution like the school.
  7. #7
    meganproser Guest
    Is this a public message board the kid is using?

    Plan A --- You and your friends add a more positive version of events from your “students” view of things. Use screen names that are very close to the screen names already on the forum. If "Cutesy" is a regular negative contributor, you want to become Cutesyy, Cutessy, Cutesye, etc.

    Make sure your subject lines are full of crap like, “OMG, you all HAVE to see this”, so that the kids keep opening stuff that is just BORING, complimentary ramblings about the teachers. Fill the forum with positive stuff, ridiculous stuff, RELIGIOUS stuff, information about defamation, lectures about the horrors of teen pregnancy, smoking, etc. They would appreciate academic posts and lyrics from old songs as well.

    Plan B--- I’m sure LOTS of people know who opened the forum. It’s no fun to be a kid and do something like this, unless all of your peers KNOW it is your forum. Get yourself an anonymous handle, open up a special email account with that name on it, post the email address on the board and offer a CASH reward to anyone who contacts you with actual evidence leading to the identification of the owner or any of the really nasty posters. Paranoia will set in and the kids will be less likely to write things if they have to keep their work a secret from their peers.

    You and your friends ought to be able to outsmart these kids. This is not a game that was invented yesterday, lol, just THINK about it.
  8. #8
    Shay-Pari'e is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by meganproser
    Is this a public message board the kid is using?

    Plan A --- You and your friends add a more positive version of events from your “students” view of things. Use screen names that are very close to the screen names already on the forum. If "Cutesy" is a regular negative contributor, you want to become Cutesyy, Cutessy, Cutesye, etc.

    Make sure your subject lines are full of crap like, “OMG, you all HAVE to see this”, so that the kids keep opening stuff that is just BORING, complimentary ramblings about the teachers. Fill the forum with positive stuff, ridiculous stuff, RELIGIOUS stuff, information about defamation, lectures about the horrors of teen pregnancy, smoking, etc. They would appreciate academic posts and lyrics from old songs as well.

    Plan B--- I’m sure LOTS of people know who opened the forum. It’s no fun to be a kid and do something like this, unless all of your peers KNOW it is your forum. Get yourself an anonymous handle, open up a special email account with that name on it, post the email address on the board and offer a CASH reward to anyone who contacts you with actual evidence leading to the identification of the owner or any of the really nasty posters. Paranoia will set in and the kids will be less likely to write things if they have to keep their work a secret from their peers.

    You and your friends ought to be able to outsmart these kids. This is not a game that was invented yesterday, lol, just THINK about it.

    Meganposer, just think about this!****************************....You are directing the teacher to act on the students level.

    That is ABSURD.
    Last edited by Shay-Pari'e; 04-06-2005 at 01:45 PM.
  9. #9
    meganproser Guest
    Suspect24: Good grief, have you been talking about THIS site? [url]http://us.ratemyteachers.com/info.php?type=Legal[/url]

    If so, you should be aware that they link to the following site that tells people how to disable blocking software. [url]http://www.peacefire.org/[/url]
    Last edited by meganproser; 04-06-2005 at 03:13 AM.
  10. #10
    meganproser Guest
    Pari-dicy: Possibly even "absurd"!

    You are probably right. There must be a better way to solve the problem of teens using character assassination as a means to hurt a teacher they don't like.

    I am anxious to hear your solution!
    Last edited by meganproser; 04-06-2005 at 03:35 AM.
  11. #11
    Suspect24 is offline Junior Member
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    meganproser, it is not the ratemyteacher's website but rather a student created one for a specific school. The ratemyteachers website actually monitors the comments effectively.

    I suppose that I could stoop to the kids level, but I won't and I won't even try to reveal his identity, even though I probably could with the ip address from his email reply.

    I paid a visit to the local office of the ACLU and they were happy to talk to me once I told them what it concerned (the site gets publicity here and that's a big problem). To make a long story short, they won't intervene unless the school (government entity) is involved in a lawsuit. They really didn't want to admit that because, of course, if the website were made to delete a comment that called someone a **** then we would all lose our Freedom of Speech because of it (sarcasm)

    Armed with the assurance that the ACLU won't help the kid after he insisted they would, I was able to get specific comments removed. So for NOW things are good. Thanks for the help.
  12. #12
    seniorjudge Guest
    [url]http://www.umkc.edu/safe-school/documents/monofs.pdf[/url]

    [url]http://www.fmew.com/archive/web/[/url]

    [url]http://www.zundelsite.org/english/zgrams/zg1998/zg9809/980906.html[/url]


    FYI only....
  13. #13
    meganproser Guest
    As Racer72 pointed out earlier, the ACLU will defend the right of the students to have such a forum but will NOT get involved in the defense of any specific postings that allegedly cross the line between free speech and tortuous activity.

    As I pointed out earlier, the owner of the forum and the posters there, need to be made aware of what it means to cross the line between the right to free speech and the rights of those being spoken about. The emphasis is best placed upon the penalties for crossing the line.

    Most people can understand the concept of financial ruin or “being sued”. What they have great trouble understanding is exactly where that free speech line is drawn. Presented with the complexities of the law, most people throw their hands up and decide to err in favor of their own financial safety, censoring anything that MAY be a violation of someone else’s rights.

    The big problem lies with those who dare to push the envelope. Those who understand that the cost of a lawsuit is usually not a practical solution for the victim or those who craft their comments so carefully as to make it unclear whether or not the statement amounts to tortuous activity.

    Sometimes the victim has no practical legal recourse for actions that are clearly intended to cause harm. The choice becomes whether to tolerate the unjust behavior or to seek a practical solution to the problem.

    I suppose that I could stoop to the kids level, but I won't and I won't even try to reveal his identity, even though I probably could with the ip address from his email reply.

    Stooping is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I’m about defending my right to a peaceful, safe existence. I don’t suffer interference with my rights lightly. I seek the high road in dealing with all problems, but a solution cannot always be found there. I see no loss of honor in choosing to fight fire with fire, but that is just me!

    Anyway, it seems you convinced the owner of the forum to remove some offensive posts so all's well that ends well!
  14. #14
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    Do I have to take you two out behind the woodshed again?
  15. #15
    seniorjudge Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cbg
    Do I have to take you two out behind the woodshed again?
    You can take me out behind the woodshed.

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