A lawyer representing a teacher contesting an allegation in her personnel file about boozing at Laguna Beach High School has added a defamation allegation to the lawsuit.
Barbara Joan “Joanie” McKnight, a 23-year Laguna Beach Unified School District employee and still a popular teacher at the high school, “is dedicated to enacting a pro-active anti-bullying program for LBUSD,” say her student and parent supporters.
As the Laguna Beach Independent reports, the controversy stems from a former principal telling other employees that McKnight was seen drinking in the campus parking lot and, when confronted, became aggressive and was sent home.
James Guziak, McKnight's Anaheim Hills-based attorney, claims none of that is true. It's also, he said, defamation, which is why it's been added to the suit concerning the unprofessional conduct noticed placed in the teacher's personnel file with the district.
The school district's attorneys, who have tried to get McKnight's suit dismissed in Orange County Superior Court, scoffed at the defamation motion, noting to the Indy it is not based on any new information that has come to light in the case.
A judge, who ruled there is enough to the complaint to warrant a jury trial at the end of February, is scheduled to consider the motion on Jan. 17.
Closely watching the legal gamesmanship are those who “like” The Laguna Beach Students N Community Support Joanie McKnight (Lahage) page on Facebook.
“This page on Facebook has been created to support her efforts for students at LBHS of all races, creeds and sexual orientations,” write the teachers supporters, who invite emails at email@example.com.