DOCUMENT: Internet, K-12

Educators Want Google To Out Poison Blogger

Blogspot pages defame NYC school administrators


View Document

NYC Principal Blogspot

JULY 10--The principal and other top administrators at a large New York City high school have sued Google in an attempt to get the search giant to turn over information that would help identify the culprit behind a pair of slanderous blogs that describe the educators as pedophiles, rapists, and racists.

In filings made last week in New York State Supreme Court, the educators seek a court order directing Google to disclose “all pertinent and useful information” concerning who was responsible for the creation of the two sites on the Google subsidiary Blogspot.

The blogs, a lawyer for the educators reported, surfaced last August and remain online. The unknown blogger, attorney Ken McCauley added, has “engaged in an extended and unrelenting campaign of defamation.” The blogs purport to be the creation of the “parents of students at Norman Thomas High School.”

One of the blogs targets Philip Martin, Jr., principal of Norman Thomas High School, one of Manhattan’s largest public schools. The second Blogspot blog focuses on Neil Monheit, assistant principal at the 1744-student school in midtown Manhattan. Martin is pictured above.

The blogs accuse both men of a wide variety of criminal behavior and professional incompetence. In a court affidavit, Martin, 41, denied a laundry list of calumnies leveled against him, including claims that he had sex with students, embezzled school funds, and used racist language with school staffers. Monheit, 47, filed a similar affidavit.

The Blogspot pages also contain purported definitions for the terms “Monheit” and “Martin” that will be familiar to anyone who has Googled “Santorum.”

A second assistant principal referred to on the blogs (as well as a former Norman Thomas employee) joined Martin and Monheit in seeking the court order against Google.

Martin and Monheit contend that the blogs have caused them to suffer “embarrassment and humiliation” and undermined their authority as school administrators (and could hinder advancement in the education field). Additionally, the educators reported that “students at NTHS are familiar with the false accusations” and several co-workers had viewed the blogs.

A Google search for each man’s name turns up the respective Blogspot pages at the top of the results page. Which likely prompted McCauley to write Google in April to request that the blogs be deleted, and that the firm provide him with details about who created them. When those demands were apparently not met by Google, the educators opted to seek judicial intervention. (8 pages)