It probably seemed like a hoot at the time: Four students at a Pennsylvania high school posted MySpace profiles of their principal, portraying him as “a pot smoker, beer guzzler and pornography lover,” reports ZDNet. Now the principal has filed a defamation lawsuit against the former students.
One profile, which the complaint claims was created by a student named Thomas Cooper, listed an unnamed pornographic flick as Trosch’s favorite movie, according to the complaint. Another profile, allegedly posted by students Christopher and Brendan Gebhart, claimed he “liked to have sex with students and brutalize women.” A third profile said he “kept a keg of beer behind his desk at school, was on steroids, and smoked marijuana,” the court filing said.
The parents of profiler number 3 are suing the principal and the school district because their son was suspended from school and transferred to “an alternative education program that allegedly prevented him from progressing with his normal coursework.”
That complaint argues the school’s actions were excessive, violated Layshock’s First Amendment free-speech rights, and interfered with his parents’ freedom to judge how best to raise and educate their son.
I’m with the principal on this one. There’s no free-speech right to defamation.