Is the following a slander case?My daughter is in second grade.  She has to use the bathroom alot during the day.  She drinks a lot of water.  Her teacher keeps picking on her because of this. ...

Is the following a slander case?

My daughter is in second grade.  She has to use the bathroom alot during the day.  She drinks a lot of water.  Her teacher keeps picking on her because of this.  I attended a meeting, and her teacher said "I think she is avoiding her work and is  maipulating the system."  She stated this in front of a  room full of other teachers and Vice principal of the school.  All because she has to go to the bathroom during class time.  My daughter has all B's and B+ in her classes.  Is this a slander case? My daughter is very shy and quiet in school.  She is well mannered and very polite to every one.  Her teacher has been picking on her since September in regards to going to the bathroom.  I have spoken with the teacher and still nothing has been done.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, this is not a slander case.  I am assuming that the meeting that you attended was specifically meant to address your daughter's issues (as opposed to a public meeting on other issues).  In this context, the teacher's statements are presumably not being made with malicious intent and are part of her duties as a teacher.

When a parent asks to meet with teachers and administration about a student's problems, the teacher has to give her professional opinion about the student.  If a teacher knowingly says something false and malicious, there could be grounds for a slander case.  However, the teacher presumably cannot know that her statement about your daughter's intentions is false.  Teachers do have to make professional judgements about what students are doing all the time.

Unless the teacher knew that her statement was false and unless she was making those statements for a malicious reason, she has not slandered your daughter.

Of course, that does not mean that she handled the meeting well.  She could have said things in a nicer way, perhaps.  But being rude or thoughtless is not the same as slander.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would strongly suggest you consult an attorney. There are nuances involved here that call for professional judgment. Most states have legal assistance available either for free or at a nominal charge. Although the prior response touches on all the elements of the offense, I, as a retired attorney, feel that you deserve a professional answer from a practicing attorney. I'm not sure I would let the teacher off the hook that easily, especially since her comment is at a minimum unprofessional. Good luck!

lauderdalefam | Student

I am a teacher and a mother.  I am familiar with the student who tries to avoid work, but I am also familiar with the possibility that your daughter may have a medical condition (i.e. bladder infection) that may need attention.  If she does not use the bathroom that frequently at home, then you may try asking her why she has to go so much during class.  Drinks may need to be limited prior to school or a plan implemented that will have her actively reducing her visits.  I am sorry that the teacher has brought this up in class, but I do not believe that this comes to the level of slander.