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Tuesday November 20, 2007

Orlando school sues critical parent

The New School Preparatory in Orlando is suing a parent for publishing a blog critical of the school. This is just exactly the heartwarming story of censorship and corporations pushing around anyone who dares to say anything critical about them that warms my heart.

Basically, Sonjia McSween’s daughter attended this school (doesn’t anymore). She had some unpleasant experiences, and her mom started a blog about the school’s alleged practices. Yadda yadda, the school SLAPPs her with a lawsuit. Which is to say something like “We don’t like what you’re saying. We may not be right, but we can make your life so difficult that you will be forced to stop.” Of course this works like a charm, and the Sonjia McSween’s blog, here and here is long gone, unretrievable by Wayback Machine or Google Cache.

But the internet, the court system, the media . . . these things sometimes have a peculiar poetic justice sometimes. See, the court documents the school filed, by necessity, need to substantiate their claims, and so must reproduce the blog’s content. Read the entire pdf of the complaint blog lawsuit complaint.pdf, or just click the images below to see the blog’s content, as captured and reproduced by the school. And if what McSween says isn’t enough to convince you about New School, ask yourself whether you really want your child to attend a school that uses the courts to silence its critics. Judge for yourself whether her statements rise to the level of “slander” against the school. You may also note that it appears from the lawyer’s letters intermingled with the below that McSween complied with every obnoxious takedown request the school’s henchmen threw at her.

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

New School Orlando blogger lawsuit complaint

Update: from the Orlando Sentinel story:

David Simmons, an Orlando attorney representing New School, said the lawsuit, filed in late October, was prompted by McSween’s postings suggesting a possible kickback scheme between a psychologist and the school. Simmons described that allegation as “ludicrous” and “damaging.”

“We’ve only asked that she tell the truth if she’s going to make any kind of statements,” Simmons said. “No one should be able to hide under the cloak of freedom of speech by making false statements.”

This is pretty transparent bullshit. The wording on McSween’s website makes it extremely clear that the “kickback scheme” is a suspicion, not an allegation. What’s more, she provides some pretty convincing evidence for her suspicion, based on her conversations with other parents and the school’s administration (see second page of the above documents).

To boot, contrast “we’ve only asked that she tell the truth,” the line David Simmons gave the press, with “in order to avoid incurring and additional damages in the future, we hereby demand that you and/or your representatives cease and desist,” from his letter to McSween. “You or your representatives”? What a mocking asshole.

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Thursday June 7, 2007

Glimpse from inside the Vamos a Cuba appeal. The ACLU is all like, “All a publicly elected body has to do to ban a book is utter the word inaccurate? If that’s the case every library administrator and library association in the country should be worried.” And the judges are all like, “[what about] a book about Adolf Hitler that would credit the Nazi leader with creating the Volkswagen and bringing Germany out of the depression — but not mention the Holocaust.” Also, for the sake of posterity, I’m mirroring the court documents posted at the Herald: School Board’s Complaint [PDF]. ACLU’s response [PDF].

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Thursday February 22, 2007

Dalila Rodriguez found a book in a school library she didn’t like, so she decided to steal it. “It’s not censoring; it’s protecting our children from lies.” Um, sorry lady, but censoring is exactly what it is. I say we order a copy of each of these “offensive” books for every library and put them on a special table right in front, where the librarians can keep an eye on them.

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