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Mike D.

Below is the first message I posted and the response I got. I have another question following:

Originally posted by mike D.:
I was a public school teacher. I had a student who was a very shy person. She began to speak to me and I listened to her. often she spoke about her life which was filled with many sad events. She would often call me at my home. I really felt bad for the kid. Finally the kid told me about a teacher in the schoolwho had touched her. I urged the kid to come forward and she did. However, the teacher who was removed from the school said that I was guilty of an inappropriate relationship with the student. I was removed from the school. I was asked how I felt about the student and I said I cared about her and all my students. When I later viewed a report put together by the superintendent's office they said that I said I loved the girl which was a lie and that her calls to me and mine to her were inappropriate. I was fired when all i did was help a scared kid come forward. In a strange twist the kid who I helped is sticking up for me saying I did nothing but help her. Sadly however, there is a false report which may affect me for the rest of my life. What can I do? Can I sue for lible?
Please help.


My response:

In what State did these events occur? Where's your Union steward in this matter? Have you set up an appeal? What processes have you already exhausted? Did you have tenure? While not dispositive of the issue, I think you'll agree, in hindsight, that giving your phone number to the girl was a bad move. Does the school have "on staff" counselors for the children? If you are correct, and your facts are completely honest and true, talk to the little girl's parents (not the girl) to ask if their daughter will sign an affidavit. You can sue for much more than libel (not "lible").

Hi again,
The state that this happened in was NY. I was not tenured,however the child and her gaurdian are standingbehind and defending my actions since it was the trust that the child had in me which enabled her to expose a teacher who had sexually abused her. The question I have is how do I get an affidavit made? Is this something I can write myself? Are ther inexpensive ways to get this done? In addition, how would I pursue a libel lawsuit and can I sue for anything else? Thanks for all your advise.

Mike D.




My take on your situation is that your termination was possibly unlawful based on public policy. Now granted this opinion is limited since you have not provided us with the answer whether you were a union employee or not. Apparently you weren't so I am going on that presumption.

You also have failed to provide us with the reason given by the school for your termination. Also, we don't know when you were terminated. We don't know what happened to the teacher that was implicated in sexually abusing the girl. Finally, we need to know what your school or school district policy is regarding teacher interaction with students during off hours, etc.

The way that I look at your case is that the termination was in violation of the New York state public policy. That public policy is that you as a teacher are required to report allegations of sexual abuse of a student. This is what you did and the alleged victim supported you as to the facts.

I doubt that the employer has defamed you in writing since they likely have a limited right to make statements about you in the course of their investigation of the incident. That limited right can sometimes be overcome by showing that it was not used properly.

To answer your question of how to take care of this cheaply. My opinion is that it is not worth your while to attempt to do this by yourself. My experience in handling employment law cases shows that the clients are (no surprise here) not at all objective about what happened to them. Thus, please do yourself a favor and consult (and retain) an employment law attorney to handle this for you.

Employment law is not the easiest area of law to learn. Plus, the majority of cases are settled out of court without having to go to trial. Do shop around as employment law attorneys charge differently for the same service. Most do require an up-front retainer plus a percentage of any recovery. You should be able to find an attorney near you at attorneypages.com.

Mark B. Replogle

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