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Teachers Union Considers Libel Suit Against Rhee

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By Peter Granitz

The Washington Teachers Union is considering suing D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee for libel after she told a national magazine some of the 266 teachers she laid off abused students.

Union President George Parker says Rhee should rescind her statements because they're damaging the reputation of all teachers, not just the ones laid off.

"I think it also disparages the reputation of all the DCPS teachers because it gives the impress.ion that you've got 266 teachers molesting children," says Parker. "It makes you wonder about the other 4,000."

Parker says it's standard procedure for DCPS to inform the union when it plans to punish teachers, but he says that did not happen in this case.

The teachers union already has sued Rhee and DCPS for the lay offs, arguing they were not prompted by a budget shortfall as Rhee claimed.

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray says Rhee needs to name which teachers allegedly hit or had sex with students. He says he may ask her to testify before the council, but he's asking her for clarification first.

Rhee has yet to respond to Gray, and did not return repeated requests for interviews for this story.

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