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Can a teacher sue a parent for slander?

Cypress, TX |
Filed under: Education law

An 8 year old lies to parents, stating that the teacher put him/her outside in the heat, alone, as a punishment. As a result, the parents of this child have been up to the school, stating to the principal and other administrators, that the teacher did in fact, put their child outside as punishment. The parents go on to say that they know the teacher put the child outside alone as a punishment because their child does not lie.

Attorney Answers 3


I agree with my colleagues. There will be difficult parents to deal with every school year; the question is, how will you deal with them? Assuming you are the teacher in this post ...

It doesn't sound like you were written up or disciplined by the administration as a result of this allegation. Take the high road in this instance and then be very careful to document everything and always use best judgment in the future when dealing with this child / family.

Public school teachers in Texas may be under contract, but school board policy is broad enough to allow for termination for "good cause." That can be pretty much anything. Be careful about how you react in this situation and be sure you do everything you can to ensure that there aren't any similar allegations made against you in the future -- or you might very well be facing a proposed nonrenewal or termination.

Rather than sue for slander, suggest to the principal that the child be moved to another classroom for a fresh start. Good luck with the situation!

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No skilled and experienced teacher would conclude that this is the right way to handle this matter.

You can do it, but you will not succeed in the slander case (it will be rather quickly dismissed against you) and you are likely to lose your job if you try it. Beware the lying in wait employer: after the dust has settled and your employer can find a clean factual basis, you will find yourself under siege.

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A teacher can sue a parent for slander or defamation. But, it may be better simply to write a letter to set out the facts and to request that the parent cease and desist their attempt to ruin your reputation. It sure would save you a lot of money. Lawsuits are expensive, and once filed, can take on a life of their own.

But if there is any truth to the allegation, you really need to seek legal counsel to provide good advice.

Typically, school administrators recognize that 8 year olds can have a vivid imagination, and you likely would not face discipline without some substantiation of the allegations following an investigation. So, if the allegations are baseless, you may consider downplaying the event.

Good luck.

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