Jury finds for district in libel case over article in Ind. student paper

INDIANA — Jurors on Friday found against a former WhitelandCommunity High School student who sued the school district after she claimed theschool’s newspaper defamed her, violated her privacy and caused heremotional distress.

Heide Inman, formerly Heide Peek, sued the Clark-Pleasant Community SchoolCorporation and several administrators in 2003 after an article in the May 2002edition of the school paper, Smoke Signals, awarded her the “worstreputation” award and said her favorite song was “Underneath YourClothes.” Additionally, after quoting Inman saying that she hoped to be azoologist, the article predicted that she would be fired from her zoo job “after being raped by a monkey.”

Inman found the comments especially egregious because she was allegedlyraped by two classmates in April 2002.

The newspaper’s adviser intended to edit out the comments but did notsave the changes, according to the Associated Press. Still, the jurors inJohnson Superior Court found that the district was not legally responsible forInman’s emotional distress.

Lawyers for Inman and the school district did not return phone callsrequesting comment on Monday and Tuesday.

For More Information:

Peek v. Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation, No. 41D01-0406-CT-00081 (Johnson Super. Ct. No. 1 Oct. 5, 2007)(jury verdict)

  • Libel suits burden three student papers Spring 2004 Report
  • Court lets student’s libel, privacy claims move forward; school district appeals decision News Flash, 1/23/2006