• U.S. members: The Federal Government is offering each household in the United States four (4) free at-home Covid-19 test kits. https://www.covidtests.gov/

Question About Legalities on Retelling Events

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

bclause

Registered
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Location
South Louisiana
Website
www.thriftymommaramblings.com
Hi everyone. I posted about this on another forum and was directed to this forum for more help. I started a blog, but I feel like it would be easier to write as a book instead of smaller posts. Here is a brief overview of the story. I will highlight the part I want to retell, but I am worried about legal issues. That part is in blue.

My second son was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 1 month old, and his prognosis was grim. It was very unlikely he would live past 2 years old, and probably die within the first year. There was no hope. I had to basically watch him wither away, and then make a life-changing decision to let him go or to prolong it for a few more months. We decided to let him go. In the midst of this, I had a panic attack on the way home from the hospital. That set the stage for the next several years of battling anxiety. I let myself go and gained over 100 pounds. I became very reclusive which is unlike me. Then my oldest son was starting to have more behavior problems in school as he got older. There was several misdiagnoses and he was exhibiting lots of anxiety.

Here is where I'm not sure if I should write it in a book or how much. The principal lied to me, manipulated me, and I had to really fight for my son. I still have to fight but it has gotten better. I guess I have to gloss over certain things as I don't want a lawsuit on my hands. My son did run off campus and in front of my car because of the extreme anxiety he has. I never hit him either, but I'm just not sure how to word certain events. I will assume I have to be very vague, but I'm just wondering how much is too much. There are certain events that I am omitting altogether to protect my son's privacy when he is older. He may not appreciate it when he's an adult. I'm also wondering if I should just leave out his story, and just write about losing my second born son. I don't know at this point.

I had to overcome my anxiety if I was going to help my son. I did get on Zoloft which did help me to become my old self again. I lost 100 pounds, and am keeping it off. I even went back to college and finished my first semester after 16 years out. I graduate in May. I put my son on Zoloft and he is doing so much better in school. He has been in school all year for the first time in 2 years and is in all his regular education classes. He was homebound off and on the last 2 years. He was misdiagnosed ADHD and then bipolar. He has Pervasive Developmental Delay (form of Autism) and Sensory Processing Disorder along with the anxiety. He gets different therapies, but I have to advocate for him to ensure he receives his accomodations in his IEP. The story does have a happier ending, but it's been a very long road. We never had anymore children since we didn't want to risk having another baby with SMA. It's a genetic disorder.

Thanks for any input or feedback. I'm pretty sure there is a market for this type of book, and so far I've gotten a good response of the little I have posted on the blog. The more I share what I've been through, the more empowered I feel by helping other families. Sorry for the rambling.
 

sense

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Messages
66
Reaction score
1
Hi everyone. I posted about this on another forum and was directed to this forum for more help. I started a blog, but I feel like it would be easier to write as a book instead of smaller posts. Here is a brief overview of the story. I will highlight the part I want to retell, but I am worried about legal issues. That part is in blue.

My second son was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 1 month old, and his prognosis was grim. It was very unlikely he would live past 2 years old, and probably die within the first year. There was no hope. I had to basically watch him wither away, and then make a life-changing decision to let him go or to prolong it for a few more months. We decided to let him go. In the midst of this, I had a panic attack on the way home from the hospital. That set the stage for the next several years of battling anxiety. I let myself go and gained over 100 pounds. I became very reclusive which is unlike me. Then my oldest son was starting to have more behavior problems in school as he got older. There was several misdiagnoses and he was exhibiting lots of anxiety.

Here is where I'm not sure if I should write it in a book or how much. The principal lied to me, manipulated me, and I had to really fight for my son. I still have to fight but it has gotten better. I guess I have to gloss over certain things as I don't want a lawsuit on my hands. My son did run off campus and in front of my car because of the extreme anxiety he has. I never hit him either, but I'm just not sure how to word certain events. I will assume I have to be very vague, but I'm just wondering how much is too much. There are certain events that I am omitting altogether to protect my son's privacy when he is older. He may not appreciate it when he's an adult. I'm also wondering if I should just leave out his story, and just write about losing my second born son. I don't know at this point.

I had to overcome my anxiety if I was going to help my son. I did get on Zoloft which did help me to become my old self again. I lost 100 pounds, and am keeping it off. I even went back to college and finished my first semester after 16 years out. I graduate in May. I put my son on Zoloft and he is doing so much better in school. He has been in school all year for the first time in 2 years and is in all his regular education classes. He was homebound off and on the last 2 years. He was misdiagnosed ADHD and then bipolar. He has Pervasive Developmental Delay (form of Autism) and Sensory Processing Disorder along with the anxiety. He gets different therapies, but I have to advocate for him to ensure he receives his accomodations in his IEP. The story does have a happier ending, but it's been a very long road. We never had anymore children since we didn't want to risk having another baby with SMA. It's a genetic disorder.

Thanks for any input or feedback. I'm pretty sure there is a market for this type of book, and so far I've gotten a good response of the little I have posted on the blog. The more I share what I've been through, the more empowered I feel by helping other families. Sorry for the rambling.

The stuff in blue is extremely vague. It is unclear why there would be any legal issues. are you just saying the principal doesn't like you and you think he would sue you?
 

sense

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Messages
66
Reaction score
1
I was also worried about getting sued before I started writing my memoir. In researching on the internet I found so many conflicting or mixed perspectives. I did manage to have a conversation with a lawyer and he was actually pretty firm in insisting that the chances of getting successfully sued for libel were extremely slim. that's just one lawyer, but I found it encouraging.

although technically you are the one liable, not your publisher, i imagine that when your book gets to that stage your publisher will be able to determine if anything in your memoir could pose legal problems. they will have more experience with this than you, obviously.
 

bclause

Registered
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Location
South Louisiana
Website
www.thriftymommaramblings.com
I didn't want to get into any true specifics yet on a public forum, but there were comments made to me by the principal questioning my parenting skills. It's a lady, and she lied to me saying my son couldn't be evaluated or why would I want to label him. Or it would take so long for the process so why waste my time. She continually tells me things that aren't true, and then backtracks when caught. Or then lies and says it never happened. My son did something quite unusual for his age, and it brought everything to a head. That principal tried to have my son expelled from school at 8 years old. If I had not found a non-profit agency to help me, he might not be in public school anymore. I'm not the only parent who was manipulated by her, and there are many parents who have had to fight for their children. I honestly don't know how she still has a job. I guess they are very well protected. I guess other than some of the he said she said comments, the majority of what has transpired is public knowledge. I do have witnessses to these meetings. I'm not trying to trash her, but a lot of what she has done to me is incredulous with the comments. It just saddens me how much she has lied to me and continues to do so.
 

sense

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Messages
66
Reaction score
1
personally, it sounds like you're fine. obviously anyone can sue, but I can't imagine the person having much of a case if all your doing is recounting events that you participated in, and that others have witnessed. libel needs to be lies or malicious intent. i don't think many people will see fighting for your child's interests as malicious. and malicious intent is extremely hard to prove.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away