[LCSD] The investigation

Rumors have been swirling for a few weeks now about an investigation in the LCSD into the identity of Lebanon Truth.  I don’t know the details – nor have I tried to find out – but I want to comment on the fact that it is ongoing, especially in light of the LT posts dealing with it.

Where to start?  How about this:  IT’S A BAD FRACKING IDEA.  If the investigation is about the climate at LHS, that’s fine.  But – for the reasons outlined quite well by Tre’ Kennedy here – going after the anonymity of the blogger in this case is not only bad for the morale and future of the district, but will probably be unsuccessful, or at the least massively counterproductive.

So why is there an investigation into the blogger’s identity?  I can think of two general reasons, one good and one bad.  The good – or at least honest – reason is that someone or several someones actually believe an investigation is a good idea and that outing the identity of LT is similarly a good thing and/or that it will help move the district forward.  I don’t think either is true, but I can understand it.

The bad reason is simply that the Alexander/Fandino faction (and understand I use that term loosely) is feeling like they are ascendant and have a lot of power right now, and they want to use that power to get rid of LT.

The other thing, as with many investigations, is that this will increase distrust among the staff.  Who is talking about who?  What are they saying?  Who is the next person to be investigated, and why?  None of these things will help move LHS or the LCSD forward. Not only that, but they might decrease the possibility of people speaking out in the future.

In addition, LT has started publishing some of the nastier comments they’ve received in the recent past.  While I suspect they’ve been receiving these comments for some time, I am also willing to bet that the number and nastiness of comments they’ve received has increased recently.  Frankly, that’s bullshit.  For what LT has said, death threats are simply unacceptable.  Furthermore, I think there is a connection between the constant badmouthing of LT and the nastiness of the comments.  One only has to look at the larger picture nationally to see the connection between speech filled with hate (not hate speech per se) and an increase in threats and actions – the Patriot movement in the 1990s (see McVeigh, Timothy) is one good example; the increase in hate crimes against people of Arab descent and Muslims after 9/11 is another.  The point is that the kind of speech that’s going on now creates a negative environment which, again, does not help move the district forward. I cannot emphasize this point enough.

Further, if Lanning is condoning or participating in this investigation because it’s the professional thing to do, then I think he might be making an error.  I don’t say that lightly – I hope he has carefully considered not only the professional aspect to this but the political one as well.

The other aspect of this that I want to highlight is that this is another thing happening behind semi-closed doors, and there has been entirely enough of that in the LCSD in the last few years.  Better to push things out into the open as much as possible.

UPDATE:  In addition to the comment below, someone pointed out to me that the investigation is focused on cyberbullying.  This explains things to me, at least partially, but it also raises a red flag:  When I was subbing, I heard teachers make fun of students plenty of times.  Sometimes there were no students present, and sometimes there were – heck, sometimes the teacher would make fun of a student directly (up to and including calling them stupid to their face; no, I am not making that up, and yes, I wanted to yell at the teacher who did it).  Of course, it was all verbal, so there was no record besides, oh, everyone else who heard it.  If Lanning is investigating the cyberbullying and takes punitive action but doesn’t investigate anything else, well, that’s a bit of a problem from an equal treatment perspective.

UPDATE 2:  It also strikes me that if the problem really is cyberbullying, revealing the identity of LT is not actually necessary, as the main goal(s) would be to end any cyberbullying and/or make amends to those injured.  I can see a confidential agreement being reached wherein LT apologizes and/or yanks any relevant material without their identity being discovered, or other practices being changed without punitive action being taken.  Of course, if the Board finds out LT’s identity during the course of the investigation, I guarantee Alexander will be too dumb/proud to not tell people who LT is, and the district will shortly owe a bunch of attorneys a lot more money, not to mention that this instance of violating Executive Session rules will likely be followed up on.

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37 Comments on “[LCSD] The investigation”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    There was something in the ADH about the investigation a few days ago.

  2. anon Says:

    I am pretty sure Alexander and the rest of this community already knows who LT is….No one should be making threats to or about her, but the comments she sees as threatening are one’s I’m not sure many of us would take seriously. If I am remembering correctly, the “kill the blogger” deal was something she posted herself as a “kill the messenger” tongue-in-cheek comment. Then someone agreed with the literal message in a post to her. It was inappropriate for someone to post that, but I doubt it was meant literally. Struck me as something someone might say when they could be anonymous and had a few too many beers. Of course I could be wrong, but it doesn’t strike me as a “threat” at all. Do you really think it’s a threat on Lt’s life?

  3. Amy Says:

    Actually, the problem is whom people are assuming the LT is. No one knows for sure and the person being investigated and attacked has denied being LT. Now they could be lying but until that is proven, I would take the threats very seriously. After all, the person assumed to be LT has already been verbally assaulted by a community member at the high school. That is the problem with the investigation itself. Disregarding the free speech issue, cyber bullying is only applicable if the talk is untrue. Truth is an absolute defense. A person cannot claim cyber bullying because a commenter reported accurately your behavior or comments.

  4. Tourist Says:

    As I am reading your post about the controversial LT and read other various comments about the matter, there is an angle that I do not think anyone has touched upon and I am almost shocked by that. The blogger can hide behind her/his misguided LT name until doomsday, but there is ample amount of evidence from her/his blog that specifically points to the fact that this person is a staff member at LHS. Posting an e-mail that Mark Finch sent to staff last year was a real bright move. There also apparently is a strong belief by many on various blogs who LT (teacher at LHS) really is. So, with that in mind, what has not been discussed is the ethics of this person. This person has posted an e-mail by an administrator at Lebanon High School. This person has posted very negative opinions and insults about people she/he works with. This person has posted inaccurate information on staff meetings. This person has gone a long way contributing to a very negative and unhealthy atmosphere from what I understand. This person has posted the name of a student on the site as well as making what can easily be considerd negative comments about the student. Okay, with this in mind, why would any teacher from any school want to work with this person? Why would any administrator possibly want ethically want to have them on their staff? Why would any parent want their child want LT as their kids teacher? This is a person who seems not to talk out/resolve issues with their co-workers, she/he just post attacking and negative comments about them on the internet. Wait, is that the foul stench of hypocrisy I smell? I have always read you as a very bright lad, I am actually surprised that you have not brought this up previously. This brings me to something for you Dennis. When I read your comments Dennis, you read as if you are a defending LT. I am not suggesting that you attack she/he, I am just curious about your objectivity on the matter. If you think that you are being objective, so be it. I of course could be wrong, but you may want to ask yourself the question, or not. They just called my flight number for boarding, read you when I get to my next stop, always an engaging stay – Thanks

  5. Dennis Says:

    Tourist – I disagree with LT about plenty of stuff, and some of it I even do publicly. However, I also defend the practice of anonymous blogging, not only because I blogged for a short time under a pseudonym but because I think the practice itself is defensible and easily justified in an environment like the LCSD’s. As well, I think an investigation into LT’s identity is not the best solution here – if one thinks LT has done something wrong, then one needs to explain how that justifies revealing LT’s identity. The latter does not automatically follow from the former, and in fact I can think of reasons why it should not. I would say the onus is on the accusers to explain why LT’s identity being revealed is necessary.

    Finally, to address what I think was your main point: There are plenty of people from LHS who have said things some have perceived to be mean or otherwise indefensible about students, other staff, the public, etc. in the last several years. To pretend LT – whether they are involved with the LCSD or no – is in a different category simply because what they have said is written and/or in a more public place is erroneous. If LT is going to be called out for their speech, then there are a whole bunch more people who need to be called out with them for this to be any kind of fair. Or we could admit that LT’s speech really isn’t much different than anyone else’s except that it happens to be written and accessible to lots of people.

    Am I objective? Hardly – I have a point of view on the district just like anyone else. But I am comfortable talking about multiple sides of an issue, and my point of view is not in support of any one person particularly so much as a set of values and practices. That has led me to support some people over others, but the support for values and practices comes first and the people second.

  6. Amy Says:

    Tourist- Some flaws in your argument of a teacher being the blogger. Ever hear of reporters with sources? Surely you are not actually saying that a person who writes about an event must have participated in the event. Do I think that LT is a teacher? Possibly. Do I think a teacher is a source? Probably. Do I think it unprofessional for a teacher of anyone to post their disagreements with others? No. I would much rather have this person post them so that if I want to try to find them I can. There is a lot more talk about students and other teachers in the halls of schools than what LT posts. In the high school there are groups that talk among themselves and urge changes from their small little group. Ask a parent about which teachers not to let your student have and you will get an earful. The kind of talk that LT engages in is the same talk that goes on throughout the community all the time. Do I think it is appropriate to post about a person? Yes, even a minor, if the information being posted was a public forum source. E-mails from Principals and staff? Yes, they are public information. Every e-mail sent or received in the public school is public record. Do I defend the content of LT’s posts? Sometimes, most of the time I take the attitude of letting sleeping dogs lay. But that’s my style. I am not forced to seek out LT’s blog. It does not have advertising telling people to read it. It is a waste of district funds to try and “out” the blogger. It is counterproductive to the freedoms we have in this country. If you are going to go after LT for their comments then I want you to be patrolling the halls of the schools and town, monitoring all the conversations that take place for comments about people. It happens all the time so you would be very busy. And yes I would work with this person just as I work with others that I disagree with. I also work with parents that have had very critical and even threatening things to say about me. Do you suggest that they be “fired”. An impossibility but I am just trying to follow your logic. Your logic seems to be you dislike LT and therefore they must go. I wonder if you have the same attitude with those you agree with. Should they be fired? My position is consistent whether I agree or disagree with them.

  7. Anon Says:

    Interesting thread — Tourist brings up some thoughtful points. It may be that all district emails are public records, yet were I to work in a school I would not be happy to see an email intended for a specific audience posted on a blog elsewhere. LT is clearly educated and speaks with authority, so I can understand people being upset when she makes damning statements that are untrue. Yet free speech is sacred to me. Maybe it is an issue of when one is anonymous it is impossible to enforce libel laws. Hard to sue someone when you can’t verify who they are.

  8. Dennis Says:

    Anon, you raise a point I’ve been remiss in not making: Knowing the identity of someone is not, strictly speaking, necessary to sue them – or to get compensation, or to get them to stop, or to get them to apologize. It can be handled by the anonymous person’s attorney, and communication can be run between the pseudonym, the ISP, the attorney and the aggrieved party.

    Can you provide evidence to the contrary?

  9. Amy Says:

    If a legal authority finds cause to charge a crime, the anonymous blogger will not be anonymous any more. The site provider will turn over the account information if given legal cause to do so. I am not sure about a civil case as it only threatens money and not liberty. I assume that a civil trial could be held without ever knowing the actual blogger’s name since you are not usually required to be personally present if you have a lawyer representing you in your place. Still it is a waste of funds the district does not have to waste. But if a crime is determined to have occurred then so be it. But the district should not be investigating so that someone else can file a civil complaint.

  10. Dennis Says:

    Amy,

    I was referring to a civil case, not a criminal case. I assume the LCSD and the TSPC are investigating because they believe they have found cause to investigate. Is there any reason to think otherwise?

  11. anonymous Says:

    LT is entitled to his/her/their opinions.
    Lt is entitled to freedom of speech.
    If this was being sent to personal or district-wide email; texted onto people’s phones without their consent; being sent by a person in authority who insisted people absolutely HAD to read LT’s blog, then cyberbullying would be an actual possible problem.
    LT is posting on the net.
    NO ONE is being REQUIRED to read any of what LT posts–any more than they are being REQUIRED to listen to what other people say if they don’t want to.
    Cyberbullying does not mean you disagree with someone. It doesn’t mean a difference of perception, opinion, or style.
    It means someone is invading your personal space, and forcing you to read their words when you don’t have a way to avoid it.
    If someone does not want to hear what LT has to say, and someone else IS reading and brings it up, those who do not want to know can just excuse themselves from the conversation or say: “I don’t wish to discuss that”.
    Simple.
    To have anyone in the LCSD hunting anybody down for basically whistle-blowing opinions expressed anonymously, on their own time in their personal life, is so wrong on so many levels.
    Similar to what Amy said above; then those hunters better get ready to police the halls of the schools and all around town–especially the coffee shop and various business’–to stop all opinionated talk.

    Is that really what people want in this town?
    To shut down anyone who doesn’t agree with them?
    And even if that is what some want to do, is it legal, much less right?
    Can we afford to continue to let a few very vocal people spend the District money as if it grew on trees here? I personally would like to know just where those trees are located since the Board is so freely handing money out.

  12. LT Says:

    “This person has posted inaccurate information on staff meetings.”

    “LT is clearly educated and speaks with authority,so I can understand people being upset when she makes damning statements that are untrue.”

    What has been posted that is untrue? Absent something offensive or material that is intended to “out” us as the person lots of people are assuming we are, we publish comments that take issue with the facts. Yet we really don’t have people coming onto the blogs and contradicting particular facts. We have made factual statements that have had opinions attached to them, and people may disagree with the opinions, but that doesn’t make the facts wrong.

    And we also don’t buy the notion that being educated somehow is an unfair advantage.

    “This is a person who seems not to talk out/resolve issues with their co-workers, she/he just post attacking and negative comments about them on the internet.”

    Are you sure? Look at what Amy said; she sounds like a teacher and she didn’t say that LT had made any incorrect statements, or at least Amy doesn’t indicate that there have been any significant mistatements. There are teachers and administrators that have tried without success to work things out with a few staff members without any success. Why is it unfair to report to the community that a teacher spent two days of classroom time showing Mama Mia? Particular when the teacher isn’t named? Particularly when this teacher shows movies regularly?

    Why is it a problem to report that a teacher regularly allows food and drink in the classroom and has “parties” regularly (and this despite repeated warnings to stop)? Yes, there are teachers who use parties as a legitimate reward. Mark Whitson teaches a photography class and has a reception/viewing at the end of each term. If he has refreshments (we are not saying he does)that turn it into the atmosphere of a gallery opening, more power to him. No, we take that back. Substitute the word cool.

    Here’s what we don’t get: Even assuming that you find the manner of delivery of the information annoying, why aren’t you outraged that your tax dollars might be getting wasted in this manner? We say might, not because we have any doubt about the matter, but because we think that you ought to be concerned enough to want the issue investigated.

    We continue to hear rumors that there are teachers sending students off-campus for inappropriate reasons (there are a few exceptions where students can go off campus as part of their assigned responsibilities (like the student store or cadet teaching). We find this disheatening. Why aren’t you outraged that this might be the case? If those practices are still going on, we want them stopped. It’s just wrong. That doesn’t mean we want the teachers involved fired. We are not calling for a lynching.

    Diverting attention to the whistle-blower is a convenient mechanism to avoid addressing what is really wrong. Instead of saying, “How mean to pick on someone for showing movies all the time in their classroom,” wouldn’t it be better to say, “That teacher showing movies instead of teaching needs to pick up her game.” And then there won’t be any more “mean” remarks.

    If you go back and read our postings, we think that you will see that we have not brought up teacher behaviors that are one-time events. Everybody has bad days and everybody does things they regret.

    We find it puzzling, Tourist, that you are not more concerned about what is going on within the classroom.

  13. Tre' Kennedy Says:

    Okay, just to answer a legal question. If an anonymous blogger were to post a defamatory comment, a court can order disclosure of the blogger’s identity. A plaintiff (the person that was defamed) must show a prima facie case of defamation. At that point, the Court can order the Internet Provider provide the identity of the blogger. I don’t think anything on LT’s blog would pass this test.

  14. Dennis Says:

    This whole thread is raising a distinction that I should have included in the original post: There is a difference between something that runs afoul of the law and something that runs afoul of social mores/community standards. I think it’s safe to say that some of what LT says violates the community norms held by some of the people in Lebanon (though just how many is a good question). However, just because you or I or anyone else thinks a standard has been violated does not mean it violates – or even gets close to violating – the law. Moreover, I have to wonder if some of those calling for LT’s head are even aware of the distinction. Some of the comments I have read sound like people think their own personal interpretation must be the interpretation the law uses, when that’s clearly not the case.

  15. Nobody special Says:

    We are living in a society where characters does not matter much anymore. We have lost our common senses and our moral values where we have all become thin skin. It is easy to blame somebody for our short falls than us finding a way to better ourselves. The days where we were able to disagree and allow dissents among ourselves are gone but now we are filled with hatred of the opposite views from ours. It results in everyone looking for someone to sacrifice so we can all sit back and cheer when prosecuted or wishing them evil if they are found innocent.
    Some of you might agree or disagree with LT but we should not prosecute LT for their own free speech. We have to look at our own characters and questions ourselves first if we at anytime done something that we thought was ethical but from another’s prespective it wasn’t?
    If we had all faulted in one point or another in life, then we should not be judging other. So far I have not found any of LT’s writing that warrant any criminal action or considered bullying.
    But then again it is my own prespective or I just might have thicker skin than most!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Tre, not sure were you went to law school, but not only are there lies and untruths on LTs site about the people she doesn’t agree with she not only attacks their personal lives (including their kids) but their reputations and she has made defamatory remarks. I beleive you are all running scared because LTs reign of terror is coming to an end. And when that happens, everyone who hid her identity and defended her will have to explain why they do so for someone who has tried so hard to ruin the reputations of so many people who just want what is best for the kids. Which will make you all look like her followers.

  17. Tre' Kennedy Says:

    Anyone else find it somewhat ironic that those screaming the hardest for LT’s demise do so anonymously? If you want to accuse LT of lying, why don’t you post under your own name? If you want to question my competency as a lawyer, why don’t you post your name? Anyway, “Anonymous”, I went to Gonzaga Law School. Tell you what, why don’t you list your top 5 “defamatory” comments from LT’s site and I will respond to each one. When you just refer to “lies and untruths” without more, it is impossible to respond.

    My point, which you seemed to have missed by the way, is that if someone believes they have been legally defamed by LT, then the proper procedure is to pursue it civilly. Why is the School District wasting money on an investigation? In my opinion, a competent attorney would look at the statements by LT and would tell any potential client that they don’t rise to the level of defamation.

    By the way, your post seems to challenge my competency as an attorney. Should I run out and file suit because I happen to disagree? I think I am rather competent as an attorney. It kind of hurts my feelings and makes me feel bad, should I file suit? Everyone needs to grow up.

    Finally, “Anonymou”, did you read Lebanon Proof when it was blogging? Do you think everything posted there was true and factual? When it tried to link egging of a school board member’s house to CARES, do you think Lebanon Proof had some facts to back that up? Maybe we should take both anonymous blogs to Court and let a judge determine which one printed defamatory comments.

  18. LT Says:

    “Tre, not sure were you went to law school. . .

    Unless you are Paul Meadowbrook, we doubt that you have any law school education whatsoever. If you are Paul Meadowbrook, then where did you go to law school? And if you want to compare resumes, then let’s compare the success of your relative practices.

    Or we could talk about the school board election instead because it seems to us if you want to continue down post-high school education line, then perhaps we should talk about the educations of the candidates. We have some candidates with impressive educational backgrounds and some people with impressive careers. Why don’t we elect them?

  19. LT Says:

    “Why don’t you list your top 5 “defamatory” comments from LT’s site and I will respond to each one. When you just refer to “lies and untruths” without more, it is impossible to respond.

    We are happy to post any appropriate comments that point out any incorrect facts. For example, we were told that Mary Bowman’s daughter was not a speaker at the school board meeting. We noted that on our post. There have been people who have contested that a student who called Mark Finch an asshole did so. But we stand by our sources on that one. In fact, we have received additional confirmation of the accuracy of our statement.

    Generally, people have not taken us up on the offer, which casues us to believe that what we have posted is correct factually, but people disagree with the conclusions we draw from the facts. Our we have gotten some nuance of the facts wrong, like the dollar amount is not correct to the penny, so people call it a “lie.” We think that if the so-called lies were printed, they would not touch the heart of the matter. And, Tre’ perhaps you can comment on the extent that a minor factual inaccuracy does to the validity of a defamation claim. If a gut stole $4000 instead of the $5000 that people are talking about, then his reputation is not really damaged by the $1000 difference. The point is he’s a thief. By the way, we’re not calling anyone a thief; it’s just an example.

    Again, if there is something factually inaccurate, particularly about school board candidates, then please send in comments. It’s important that we get correct information so we can elect the best school board possible.

  20. anon Says:

    LT is so funny. I happen to know Paul Meadowbrook. From what I know of him, he would never post on this site, and if he ever did (which he wouldn’t) it’s unlikely there would be words spelled incorrectly (not meaning to slap whoever it was who posted about Tre), and I hear he has a very successful practice, which Tre may have as well.

    And Tre is funny in his own right…complaining about people attacking LT anonymously when LT insists on remaining anonymous herself.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    An open plea to Dennis and Tre’. If you are, as you say, concerned with the students in this school district and want the community to heal you will have the guts to come forward and reveal the blogger. As long as you continue to help this person sneak around and try to ruin peoples reputations you are as much at fault as she is and your credibility will continue to be in question.

  22. Dennis Says:

    Interesting tactic, Anon @ 8:19. A few responses:

    1) I don’t know who the blogger is any more than anyone else.

    2) Even if I did, I would not reveal their identity. I’ve said before that I believe in the right to anonymity here.

    3) Whose reputation has been ruined?

    4) [Not speaking for Tre’] What credibility? =)

    5) I’m still not convinced revealing LT’s identity is actually necessary. I’m not going to parse this argument again unless someone genuinely seems to want to know.

  23. Dennis Says:

    Anon @ 5:38 PM –

    I have seen what I believe to be the work of Paul Meadowbrook, and it had multiple spelling and grammar errors. I know there is a possibility that I didn’t see his work, since I didn’t get it directly from him, but I see no reason to believe otherwise without evidence. (Note that this is not a comment on his law practice, either.)

    Oh, and about Tre’: There is no inconsistency there. Not only is anyone free to refuse Tre’s call, but I think he was pointing out the hypocrisy in an anonymous commenter calling for an anonymous blogger to reveal their identity. Note that Tre’ uses his real name. Finally, why is Tre’ in any way responsible for LT’s choosing to blog anonymously? Tre’ has been consistent saying that he prefers everyone use their real name. Please stop conflating multiple people/issues.

  24. Tre' Kennedy Says:

    To be honest, I don’t think we should be talking about Mr. Meadowbrook. I have no knowledge that he has posted on this or any blog or even reads them. If he wants to insert himself in the discussion and identifies himself, then he is as much a target as I make myself. Lacking that, I don’t think any of us should assume identities. There were some posts a while back on LT’s site and some people assumed it was me. They were wrong and that did upset me. while I choose to own my words, and I wish more people would own theirs, I still respect people’s right to remain anonymous.

  25. anony Says:

    FYI, Paul Meadowbrook used to be a journalist before he went to law school at Willamette University. I sincerely doubt that you saw his work. What a hateful thing to say about someone who is quite educated. And think about it… do you think ANY attorney does work full of spelling errors? This just seems and attempt to be hateful toward someone with views you may disagree with.

  26. Dennis Says:

    I can now say I’ve received the first comment ever on this blog that I can recall that is a direct insult to me. (For the record, I was called “the dumbest person ever encountered.”)

    Interesting.

    Oh, and it’s not getting published, of course, beyond the bit that I excerpted. Honestly, who openly insults the moderator of a blog and expects to see that moderator approve their comment?

  27. Dennis Says:

    “What a hateful thing to say…”

    Really? Because I didn’t say I think Meadowbrook is unintelligent. I said I saw something I believed to be his work and it had spelling and grammar mistakes. I also specifically noted that I could be wrong.

    How is that hateful?

  28. Travis Says:

    Whoa, you should give me a quick version of what’s going on, and where, in person next time I see you, Dennis. If that’s possible.

  29. LT Says:

    We apologize for bringing Mr. Meadowbrook into the mix. We were simple trying to be accurate about the comment attacking Tre’s creditials as an attorney. The point we were making is that someone who seemed not to have any training as an attorney was making disparaging remarks about Tre’s legal skills. That seems like an unintelligent remark. Our point was, “Gee, here’s someone without any training claiming to be an expert on the law.” Please note, that we did not say anything negative about Mr. Meadowbrook, unless you assume that he was the commenter, which we did not think was the case.

  30. Dennis Says:

    Travis – this story takes a keg, split between the two of us, to explain. I mean, I’m up for it if you are, but even the short version will take a few beers.

  31. LT Says:

    And, by the way, Dennis, we are sorry to see people becoming so nasty here. It is disheartening that we have so misbehaving adults in our community, setting a terrible example for students. Please note: while we disagree with the behavior of these nasty comments, we are not engaging in personal attacks on the commenters nor are we threatening others. It is such a shame that we have such vocal people trying to convince everyone that they are in the majority by the rudeness and volume that they bring to the discussion. It really does not make your case any stronger by using these tactics.

  32. Curious Says:

    A legal question for Tre’….

    In several posts by LT in 2008,(Feb 5, Jan 10, Jan 3, Oct 20, to name a few) she made the comment that Bo and/or Rob Allen were involved in a ” money laundering” scheme. Isn’t money laundering illegal? If so, why weren’t they prosecuted? If what they did wasn’t illegal, but merely against distric policy, and LT clearly accuses them publicly of a crime isn’t that defamation?

    Could you please clear this up for me?

  33. Mary Bowman Says:

    To LT,

    I will give you not only 5 defamatory statements you have made but highly inappropriate ones you have made concerning students.

    1. Calling the students who asked questions at the meeting “not smart enough” to know the answers to very good questions is not only inaccurate it is as you have quoted about me “a low blow”. These girls are very intelligent and unless you know their IQ’s your statements are defamatory.

    2. Although you deleted the “poor genetics breed on” comment concerning the girls at the meeting, (although not until three days later). This would be considered defamatory. You do not know any of the parents but I know that they all have college degrees (which we know is so important to you). So once again defamatory and a “low blow”

    3. When the girls spoke at the January and then February meeting and then asked questions at the February special meeting they do so of their own accord. No adults helped them with their speechs or forced them to come before the board. But I guarentee you have made sure no other student will ever speak again.

    4. You said that one of the girls called Finch and asshole. I spoke with the people sitting in front of her and none of them heard such a thing. You also stated people saw her mouth it. She was at the back of the room, unless everyone was turned around, another inaccuracy.

    5. Your reply back to annoymous student on February 21, 1:31 pm had one inaccurate and two highly inappropriate comments. The comment “we did not comment on the rumors wer have heard about your off campus activities” insinuates that this student is a bad person. Why? because you disagree with her?
    Your comment that you think it disingenous for this student to go around bad mouthing LT in comments in and out of school is interesting. This student never refered to LT as LT or the blogger. All comments were about the alleged teacher who she thinks is the blogger. So if LT is the alleged teacher than this is inaccurate. If she isn’t than it is accurate.

    6.Your comment on Feb 22, 4:33 pm concerning the comment “I wonder what it would be like to die?”. You said you have come to the conclusion that is was one of the two girls who spoke at the meeting (and we know their names since you plastered them all over your blog). You stated the student was disturbed. Unless you are a physchologist you can not determine this. This is where you cross the line.

    In conclusion:

    We would not be where we are today if you had not started posting students names and questioning their intelligence, their reputations and their conduct which you seem to be the only one who feels was inappropriate.

    You can reply back and spin everything I said anyway you want, but the fact is your an alleged educator and if that is true the fact that you are teaching children with the hatred I have seen on your blogs is to say the least “scary”.

    Its unfortunate that I have the guts to confront you yet you do not have the guts to confront any of the people you have harmed with your lies and slander. In my world they call that a “bully”.

  34. Tre' Kennedy Says:

    Curious, actually a very good question because it is an interesting distinction. First, a legal disclaimer. This answer is based purely on my general knowledge of defamation law. I have not researched the issue in detail nor is my intent to give legal advice to anyone. If you disagree, fine. Also, I have no idea what the real facts are behind what happened with respect to the individuals you name in your post. I wish Mr. Yates all the success in the world at the high school and certainly have nothing but respect for Mr. Allen, who I like very much. This is my opinion and nothing more. I’d like to think its an educated opinion (and I can show you the balance on my law school loans as evidence), but some might even disagree with that.

    Defamation requires proof that someone made a knowingly (or recklessly) false statement that was published. Normally, you also have to show actual damages as well. However, imputing the commission of a criminal offense is considered Defamation per se and does not require evidence of actual damages to the person defamed.

    The “innocent construction rule”, however, requires a court to consider the statement in context and to give the words of the statement, and any implication arising from them, their natural and obvious meaning. With this, a Court will interpret words in context “according to the idea they were intended to convey to the reasonable reader.”

    “Criminal” money laundering is indeed a crime. It originated from RICO legislation addressing the drug problem. It has expanded to almost any criminal enterprise. It generally refers to taking money earned from an illegal enterprise and running it through a legal entity thereby “cleaning” it.

    However, money laundering also has a non-criminal context. For example, I have heard people accuse legislators of laundering money to their state or pet causes. Managers of a company can be accused of laundering money to their division. It would generally be considered to have a non-criminal context of diverting money in a way that hides its origin or path. Making an allegation of money laundering in these contexts would not be defamation per se.

    Certainly, LT never accused anyone of taking money that was earned illegally (from drugs or other illegal activity) and cleaning it by running it through a legitimate business. At worst, LT alleged that money was used inappropriately in a way that wasn’t first approved by the district. In my opinion, LT never accused anyone of committing a crime. Rather, she accused someone of wrongful conduct as an employee of the District.

    Again, for the record, I am not judging the truth or accuracy of what happened. I have no idea.

    One example from an actual case. In Chicago, a newspaper ran a story that alleged a mother had “kidnapped” her child. Kidnapping is a crime. Certainly, that Mother believed she had been defamed. However, the Court found that it was not defamatory because there were also “non-criminal meanings of the word.”

    So, anyway, that is my personal (and free) legal opinion. Please feel free to disagree with me, that is your right. I am neither judge nor jury.

  35. LT Says:

    To those who read Ms. Bowman’s comments:

    Ms. Bowman’s comments are completely inaccurate. We invite you to read our actual remarks for yourself.

  36. Dennis Says:

    Mary, a link to each comment from LT’s blog you reference would be a nice way of letting people read the comments for themselves.

  37. Curious Says:

    Thanks Tre’for taking the time to give your comments on my question. Although I do believe that LT made those comments in order to damage the reputation of Mr. Yates and Mr. Allen, I understand, and respect your opinion.

    Also, I appreciate your public support of Mr. Yates. I believe that he is the right person for the job, and with the support of you and others in the community the changes we need at the are beginning to happen. Progress towards a more productive system at the high school has already started.


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