Texas School District Sues Blogger Mom
As you may have noticed, one way to ruffle our feathers is to try and get down with that whole stifling free speech business. We're not big fans of censorship... in fact we can't think of too many people (outside of some fringe religious elements still fighting the culture wars) who are.
Unfortunately, attempting to quiet those whose speech offends you only often helps bring publicity and credibility to their cause, which is exactly what is happening with a certain case in Galveston, Texas.
The Galveston Independent School District (GISD) is attempting to sue Sandra Tetley, the mother of a student in the district, for defamation. Tetley runs the blog GISDWatch.com, which tracks and comments on the activities of the local school board.
The GISD is demanding that Tetley remove 16 postings from the blog, which the District's lawyers have identified as libelous. The postings in question throw around some hefty accusations, charging that Superintendent Lynne Cleveland, the board of trustees, and school administrators lied to the people of the Galveston. They are also being accused of falsifying budget numbers, using their positions for personal gain, and spying on employees, among other things.
Tetley has so far refused to take down any of the postings, citing her right to post her opinion.
In 2002, an appeals court ruled that school districts could not sue for defamation, so the GISD has had to change its strategy a bit. Instead of filing suit on behalf of the district, lawyers are suing on behalf of the individual members of the administration and board. The legal fees will still come out of the district's budget however, meaning the citizens of Galveston are now paying for several personal defamation suits.
We have a feeling this whole thing is going to come crashing down on their heads
From Slashdot and The Galveston County Daily News
- AT&T Admits Error in Censoring Pearl Jam Song
- Governments Increasingly Censoring the Web
- Digg Users Revolt
- Blogger Sued for Negative Book Reviews