Pennsylvania principal sues former students for MySpace page

A high schoolprincipal has sued four of his former students for defamation of characterclaiming they created three parody profiles that claimed he smokedmarijuana, kept beer at school and enjoyed having sex withstudents.
In his lawsuit filed in February, Hermitage High SchoolPrincipal Eric Trosch said the three Internet profiles created in December 2005humiliated him, damaged his reputation and limited his earning capacity,according to the Associated Press.
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SPLCView: The merits of this particular lawsuit aside, this case serves animportant reminder that while schools are generally limited in their ability topunish students for their private, off-campus expression (again, at least fornow), students have always been — and remain — fully responsible foreverything they publish and are in no way immune from libel or othercontent-based lawsuits brought by those who feel they have been unlawfully hurtby their independent student publication or Web site.  Of course, to have avalid defamation claim, a school administrator in this situation must prove thatreasonable readers of the Web site in question perceived the content as factual,not just tasteless satire.