November 2016 Spanish Lake playground altercation results in Defamation Lawsuit

“On November 14, 2016 an 8-year old African American boy (name omitted) was playing on the playground with the permission of administrators at Spanish Lake Primary School after school hours…” alleges the Defamation lawsuit filed by Alana Jackson, individually and on behalf of the minor child.  The suit alleges a confrontation between that minor child and three white children wherein a racially insensitive remark was hurled, along with mulch, before the first boy was pushed to the ground then “picked up by the waist and slammed down on his head” causing injury.  A GoFundMe started by an uncle to defray “medical, legal and miscellaneous expenses” drew social media criticism and a letter to The Creole leading Jackson to file suit.

Suit No. 118,508, Petition for Damages for Defamation, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Gross Negligence and for Injunctive Relief was filed last month in Ascension’s  23rd Judicial District Court.  Named defendants include The Creole along with four individuals who “began to make malicious statements on Facebook about Alana Jackson and (the minor child); questioning the veracity of their claims and accusing them of fraud.”  Three of those individuals are identified in the suit as teachers at the school.

The fourth defendant “also penned an open letter about the incident to the online news publication The Creole, Inc.” accusing plaintiffs “of committing fraud” which The Creole published on November 28, 2016 at:  http://www.thecreole.com/?p=66452.

“All of the statements made by these defendants are false and constitute libel” alleges Jackson’s suit, which goes on to claim; “These false statements exposed (plaintiffs) to hate, contempt, ridicule, obloquy (it means disgrace, dishonor) and injury to their reputations…created a hostile work environment for Alana Jackson and she was forced to take a leave from her position at Ascension Parish School Board.”

“The staff at Spanish Lake Primary School (including three individual defendants) started a Facebook campaign changing their profile pictures in support of the school suggesting that (plaintiff’s) claims were false…Due to the hostile environment created by the statements and Facebook campaign by the teachers at Spanish Lake Primary School, Alana Jackson was forced to remove her son from his school, Spanish Lake Primary, to home school.”

Why did plaintiffs not name the school, or School Board, as defendants?  Pelican Post contacted plaintiffs’ counsel, Adrian C. Ross, who declined comment and indicated her client chose not to speak at this time.  Ascension Parish School Board declined comment citing pending litigation policy.  An email was sent to The Creole’s publisher in Wake Forest, North Carolina but he has yet to respond.  Ascension’s sheriff investigated the incident but matters concerning juveniles are sealed.

The “Facebook campaign” supporting the school has, apparently, been deleted.  It was The Creole’s November 18, 2016 publication of the following racially charged social media offering that fanned the flames of discord in the first place:

TheCreole.com received the following Facebook post concerning the fight. NOTE: APSO’s investigation is still in progress and the following statement may not include all the facts to the incident:

Jacob Strunk posted the following:

Meet Jordan and J’Niaha. They’re eight and four, my friend Cris’s nephew and niece.

On November 14, they were accosted at school by kids shouting, “Go back to the cotton farm!” Jordan, an athlete and honor student, defended his little sister. The attackers – the oldest of whom is 13; all of them children of teachers at the school – sent him to the hospital with a broken arm and a head injury.

This is real. Don’t look away. And next time you see that red election map, I want you to picture a gaping, bloody wound. America in 2016, bleeding out.

UPDATE 1: The school has decided to NOT reprimand the students since the incident happened after dismissal. Police investigation has been referred to the juvenile division for further review.
UPDATE 2: Jordan’s family is meeting with legal counsel today to explore options for what, if any, disciplinary steps can be taken.
UPDATE 3: Jordan is feeling better, but remains out of school and is seeing doctors for continuing dizziness/disorientation due to his head injury. – Nov. 17
UPDATE 4: Jordan is back at the ER this morning. Stand by for more news.
UPDATE 5: For those asking, the school where the attack occurred is Spanish Lake Primary School. – Nov. 18

Please continue to share this post. I want everyone in America to know these kids’ faces, and we need those responsible held accountable! Thank you!! (Emphasis added).

 

Plaintiff’s suit failed to mention The Creole’s initial supportive stance.

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