Parent’s Facebook posts defamed teachers at southwestern Manitoba schools, division’s lawsuit claims

A southwestern Manitoba school division is suing a parent for posting comments on social media the division claims were defamatory and have severely hurt the reputation of several of its employees.

In the Facebook posts, a mother of children who are current and former students at R.J. Waugh Elementary School and Carberry Collegiate in Carberry, Man., accused teachers at the schools of being abusive, disrespectful, mean and rude to children, according to the lawsuit.

The Beautiful Plains School Division, which has its main offices in Neepawa and includes the Carberry schools, filed the lawsuit against the woman on May 14 in Manitoba Court of King’s Bench, citing Manitoba’s Defamation Act, which prohibits writing or publishing libellous material.

The lawsuit alleges the woman intentionally and maliciously published untrue and defamatory statements on her Facebook account that were meant to embarrass and humiliate the division and its employees. 

The posts, published between April 18 and May 13 of this year, mention specific division employees by name, according to excerpts quoted in the statement of claim. Many of the quoted posts in the suit use profanity and include references to employees as “a bitch,” “a toxic piece of shit” and “a f–king Nazi.”

The posts also accuse teachers at the schools of being abusive, sexist and misogynistic, the lawsuit says.

Posts quoted allege a teacher locked a child with autism in a locker in one case, sexualized children’s friendships, refused to let the woman’s child use the bathroom, and made children feel like they were attending a residential school.

The statement of claim includes more than two dozen quotes from Facebook posts, which specifically name five different school division employees.

The statement of claim says the school division will continue to suffer significant loss, damage and irreparable harm because of the “untrue and defamatory statements about the division and its employees,” and that it has demanded that the defendant stop publishing such posts, but she has refused to do so.

It claims the woman is “motivated by malice, as she continues to make posts and has indicated she will not stop.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court. 

The defendant has not filed a statement of defence. She could not be reached Friday for comment. 

The division’s lawsuit is asking for injunctions prohibiting the woman from publishing further defamatory statements, and ordering her to delete the posts identified in the statement of claim.

It also asks for general and punitive damages.