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Do I have the right to file a slander/defamation suit against my son's teacher?

Pottstown, PA |

My son is a junior in high school. He attends vo-tech,the bus gets caught in traffic from the tech center to the school very often makes him 5-10 minutes late to his first class of the day at high school. . His teacher has complained many times about being a few minutes late, but he is not the only one in the class that is a vo-tech student. He feels that she specifically has a disfavor for him because he is not a full day academic. Friday she threatened him and only him with disciplinary actions if he was ever late again, other students commented in on what she were saying, who continued to harass my son, she did not say anything to stop them and actually chimed in on what they were saying. He was depressed and angry about being humiliated by the teacher.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. This is not slander or libel, nor anything close. It is not a lawsuit, either. This is an issue that merits parental interaction and intercession with school administrators. Meet with the teacher and with the supervisors and managers above her, right up to the principal. Take your complaint to the district and the governing board if necessary. Your kid should not be called out for lateness that is out of his control. But this is not an issue that merits legal action.

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  2. As for a meeting with the Principal and this teacher and make your concern known that your son seems to be penalized for tardiness that is out of his control. None of what you describe is any type of defamation or anything legally actionable.

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  3. I concur with my colleagues, not a legal issue. It does appear to be misconduct on the part of the teacher and should be addressed through the available standards. A late bus is not a new issue for teachers and there is no excuse for the teacher not being aware of the schedule. File a formal complaint with the principal and ask that the teacher's conduct be investigated. You may be asked to reduce your complaint to writing, and if so, just write the facts without an name calling or inflating the effect on your child. Follow the Joe Friday rule, "Just the facts Mam." School officials will take the complaint seriously. You may also ask to be informed of what the resolution was. They will likely not be able to tell you if the teacher was disciplined because it is a personnel matter; however, they will be able to tell you they took appropriate steps to correct the problem with the bus and the teacher.
    Best of luck!

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  4. In most states a teacher would have some level of privilege to be protected from libel suits by students in the course of doing his or her job. Also a teacher can state her opinion about a student without being subjected to a libel suit. The correct forum to take this up in is with the school to stop the teacher from humiliating your child.