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Gray Investigates Rhee Claims, Includes Lanier In Investigation

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Michelle Rhee is under fire from the Washington Teacher's Union for allegations she made during a recent interview for a business magazine.
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Michelle Rhee is under fire from the Washington Teacher's Union for allegations she made during a recent interview for a business magazine.

By Peter Granitz

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray is launching an inquiry into allegations Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee made during an interview with a national business magazine. Rhee told Fast Company that some of the 260 teachers laid off in October had sex with students or hit them. Rhee had said previously that the layoffs were because of a tight budget.

Gray sent a letter to Rhee, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Child and Family Services Director Roque Gerald. He's demanding they tell him by Wednesday which teachers broke the rules and what steps their agencies took to deal with the alleged abuse.

Meanwhile, the Teachers Union is mulling a libel lawsuit. Georgetown law professor Rebecca Tushnet, says it'll be hard to for the union to prove defamation.

"If I say all lawyers are liars, that just doesn't defame any particular lawyer. And then you sort of work from there. At some point you get to a point where that group is small enough that they can be defamed. Usually a group of a couple of hundred is too big," says Tushnet.

The Union sent its own letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty complaining about the comments. He has not commented on the issue.

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