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Defamatory comments
Old 09-30-2017, 06:47 PM
 
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Recently, a parent posted some defamatory remarks (lies) about me on Facebook. She never mentioned my name, but the issue she brought up is a recent hot topic nationwide. Her child came home and said I did something I would never do. She also said I allowed students in my classroom to do the same. It became a HUGE assault on my character by other people (and her) on her post. These people, who do not know me, they do not even know my name, let the vitriol fly. She is friends with a few of my former students parents, some coworkers and other people in the community who DO know I am her teacher.

The principal knows that it's all lies and that it's absurd to even assume I would do what she said. However, it has affected me greatly. I have had a terrible week. I can't seem to let this go. My DH said not to worry about since most of these people don't know me, but the mother does and I know she is friends with some of my current parents. I have tried to treat this child the same as I did before, but it's really hard. It has taken an emotional and physical toll. I'm am no longer satisfied with my already hard job. I don't have the motivation I once had. This incident has become an eye opening (unfortunate) turning point for me. I need to clear my head of all the negativity and I can't seem to do that. Hoping that a little venting will become the catalyst to "get over it". Thanks for reading.


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Old 09-30-2017, 07:27 PM
 
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I am so glad that my wife and I decided long ago never to join any of the social media outlets. They seem to do more harm than good and there is no regulatory mechanism to control what people write. You seem to have more than enough to deal with at work. My prescription for some immediate relief would be to close your Facebook and all other such accounts - you'll be better off without them!
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:32 PM
 
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I had a parent take to social media about me and I went ape sh!t over it. I told my P I wanted it removed. She called the parent and had it taken down.

I was ready to go to my union, the police and get a lawyer over it (and I think my P knew it).

I'd start with your P and go from there. I wouldn't let it go. Teachers let things go and it gives parents and others carte blanche to keep going and escalate it.

I'd email your P and tell him you want it removed ASAP and if he's not willing to support you, you'll take the necessary steps to get it removed and you hope you have his support with this very serious and slanderous matter.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:48 PM
 
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She is, Thank God, not my friend on Facebook. So I did not see the comments firsthand. One of my coworkers screenshot them and sent them to me and my principal, so we would be aware. My union president told me to save them, just in case. She also told me that unless my name was specifically mentioned I couldn't do anything outright. It's not libel, unless they mention your name. It also is not necessarily defamation of character, since my principal and my school board is in full support of me and doesn't believe a word of it.

My problem now is parent conference time, we try to meet with all parents at the end of the first nine weeks. I have to meet with this person and act like i know nothing about it. Apparently, this isn't the first time it's happened (she also did this to the previous teachers) with different lies. And there was a reaction from the teacher and principal both times, which is what the student (and mom) wanted. The mom did mention names those times and got into big trouble.
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My take on it.
Old 09-30-2017, 09:26 PM
 
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I agree with what has been said so far by others in this thread. I"d get the administrator involve and let them know that these posts will not be tolerated. Get screenshots of them and have them call in the parents and tell them to take it down.

If your admin doesn't have the guts to call in the parents, then talk to your Union if you have one and then seek legal advice. I realized that when my social media was hacked by my central office and they posted false things to try and get me terminated (racial related and political which were completely false and found to be false), I deleted the accounts, got a lawyer and threatened to sue for defamation of character. My state trooper friend who worked in technology found the IP address where those posts came from wasn't my own it was from the central office so I still could sue my old district if I wanted to. I deleted all my social media accounts and though I don't have one anymore, I still monitor to see if they are posting things in my name, they haven't thank god!! Lesson learned, I'm going to tell my teachers if I teach at college level or get an administrative job "Do not post anything on social media, or have one. If you choose to have one, do not post anything against the parents or paints you or the profession in a negative light." I cringe at seeing future teacher candidates or in my doctoral research read about social media habits that prevent candidates from getting a job. *sigh* I'm glad I don't have that burden anymore.


If I was your admin, I'd call in the parents and tell them to delete those posts. "Otherwise, I would not be responsible for the legal ramifications that my teacher has every right to pursue against you." I'd also monitor to make sure the posts were taken down as well.


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Old 10-01-2017, 12:16 AM
 
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I would not talk to the parent without an admin present. Just say something like "x will be sitting in with us on our conference today" with a smile plastered on your face.

I had a troublemaker parent accuse me of saying something during a conference last year that I did not say. That and lack of support from my admin after the accusation was a contributing factor to my decision to retire early. Don't let it happen to you.
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:40 AM
 
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Get a screen shot. Personally, I have a lawyer mail a letter. I think this kind of thing is beyond inappropriate.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:20 PM
 
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Please absolutely have an admin sit in on the conference. When she asks why, be sure to pause a bit, then give her a look that says that you know while saying "I thought it would be a good idea."

She's already been in trouble for this. She needs to know that you are on to her and will be watching.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:30 PM
 
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I agree with several posts regarding having someone else present during the parent teacher conference. It will help to set the tone with the parent, and help to keep it focused on necessary conversations. Good luck!
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