Principal sues students over parody profiles on Internet site

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A school principal has filed suit against four former students over parody profiles that were posted on an Internet social networking site.

Eric Trosch, who had been co-principal of Hickory High School, alleges that the three profiles created in December 2005 damaged his reputation, humiliated him and impaired his earning capacity. The suit filed in Mercer County court seeks unspecified damages.

Among the defendants is Justin Layshock, who in a federal lawsuit acknowledged creating a Myspace profile of Mr. Trosch.

Mr. Layshock, then a senior, was suspended and sent to an alternative program.

Mr. Layshock and his parents, who are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, has a lawsuit pending against Mr. Trosch, Hermitage School District and other school officials.

They say the profile was protected by the First Amendment and that Mr. Layshock's punishment violated his rights.

Mr. Trosch's attorney, John E. Quinn, said Mr. Trosch felt the MySpace profiles "went far and beyond what you would see on a bathroom wall in a school."

Mr. Trosch, now principal of the Hermitage Middle School, declined to comment.

A fourth Myspace profile, which Mr. Quinn said was "the most graphic and lurid of them all," was created, but authorities have not been able to identify the responsible person.


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