PHILADELPHIA — Parents and their minor child are suing a school and its faculty, citing alleged defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
J.M. and R.M., individually and as parents and natural guardians of R.F.M., a minor, filed a complaint on Sept. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Springfield Township School, Nancy Hacker, Charles Rittenhouse and Scott Zgraggen, alleging the defendants violated the law by suspending a student for non-disruptive conduct that occurred outside the school premises.
According to the complaint, on April 3, minor plaintiff was suspended by defendants as a punishment due to a private snapchat video that did not take place on school property nor cause a substantial and material disruption of school activities.
Furthermore, the student's parents claim that after the suspension, defendants allegedly proceeded to defame minor plaintiff by publishing implied references to the Snapchat video on electronic media throughout the school, causing her to be placed in a false light, as well as to suffer emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation.
The plaintiffs holds Springfield Township School; Hacker; Rittenhouse and Zgraggen responsible because the defendants allegedly performed policies and rules that are unconstitutionally vague and/or overboard, both on their face and applied to minor plaintiff, inter alia, because they do not distinguish between conduct at school or school-related events and conduct away from school.
The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment for damages in an amount in excess of $150,000, plus interest, costs, attorney's fees, injunctive relief, and other applicable relief by the court. They are represented by William Reil of Law Offices of William C. Reil in Philadelphia.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 18-CV-4082.