Florida Parent Sued For Blogging About School

A school in Orlando is suing a parent for writing nasty things about it on her blog.
A private school claims the mother of a former student crossed the line in a critical Internet blog she wrote about her daughter's experiences there.

So the New School of Orlando sued Sonjia McSween to stop her from publishing and talking about the school and force her to pay damages.

Some say it's a case of censorship. Others say First Amendment rights have nothing to do with it.

"Lots of people, private and public, can have thin skins," said Rebecca Jeschke, spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates digital free-speech rights and maintains a legal guide for bloggers. "People need to get used to this new world where everyone has a soapbox and can use it."

McSween says she created the blog to warn parents about what happened when her now 7-year-old daughter Logan attended kindergarten at the school.

The lawsuit, filed in October, says McSween posted "false and otherwise libelous remarks" alleging that students were belittled, exposed to "extreme stress" and "dictatorial conditions." Among other things, she also alleged that the school told parents how to run their homes and threatened them for speaking negatively about the 120-student school.

The kindergarten-through-eighth grade school alleges that McSween deliberately told unflattering lies, causing enrollment to drop. It alleges defamation, libel, slander and interference with business relations.

"When I created this website, I did not do it with malice," said McSween, a 28-year-old single mother who plans to meet with an attorney soon. "I created it with disappointment about my experience."
I'll be interested in seeing how this suit turns out. Freedom of speech also includes being responsible for what you say, and you never know who's reading your blog.

It's also another reason why I never write about my job.

By the way, I really love my job and the people I work with.

PS: A commenter over at BBWW asked if I had a link to Ms. McSween's blog. I googled her when I was writing the post this morning and checked the usual places, but came up empty. If anyone out there can locate it, let me know and I'll link it here...assuming it's still up and running.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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