Students sued over MySpace prank

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A teacher has taken legal action after one of his students posted fake pages about him.

Eric Trosch, the former principal of Pennsylvania's Hickory High School, has taken the action after four bogus profiles appeared online in 2005. The pages included comments supporting drug use, suggesting that sex with students was OK so long as they weren’t “killed in the process” and casting aspersions about Trosch’s physical attributes.

After the pages first appeared in December 2005 Trosch attempted to block access to MySpace via the school’s firewall but was unable to, despite the best efforts of IT staff. At one point they discussed shutting down all the computers in the school.

The culprit was found, after which he apologised to Trosch. He was suspended for 10 days and put in an "Alternative Education Program" on his return. However, his parents then promptly sued the school for disciplining their son for actions he undertook while not on school grounds.

“Justin was given ten days out-of-school suspension with the remainder of the year to be spent three hours a day in the very limited teacher supported Alternative Curriculum Education program, a punishment for something that was created at his maternal grandmother's house and for which he was punished by us, his parents,” said his parents in a statement.

“My wife and I had made several attempts to convince District officials that if they felt Justin needed more than a ten-day suspension he should be allowed to do something like community service; anything that would not take him out of his regular classes. Only after hearing for the final time that the District would not change the punishment did we decide to take legal action.”

A judge ruled in favour of the school on 2006 but the family then took the case to federal court arguing civil rights violations. As a result Trosch has countersued, claiming damage to his reputation and a loss of potential future earnings.
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