The exceptions under which plaintiffs can file suit under a pseudonym usually include sexual abuse, which has been the case in a number of lawsuits against Roman Catholic archdioceses, as well as mental illness, personal safety and abandoned children.
But in a disturbing end run around that time-honored standard,The Doe's lawyer, Cynthia Pollick, did not respond to my query about why they are being secretive, nor is it clear whether the federal court in which the suit was filed will allow it to go forward with pseudononymous plaintiffs.
the parents of a high school student are hiding behind a "Jane and John Doe" moniker in their civil suit against Bruce H. Smith Jr., a history teacher at Pleasant Valley High School in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
The Does accuse Smith of showing their daughter and other 16- and 17-year-old students photos of Sharon Tate and other nude and dismembered victims of the Charles Manson Family, and teaching from an unpublished personal memoir that includes sexual references.
What is obvious is that the Does, who are demanding a jury trial, are troublemaking wackjobs.They claim in their suit that their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated, that the district "retaliated" against them by revealing their names, that Smith "scared them" when he called them in an apparent effort to mend fences, and that they "have suffered substantial anxiety and emotional distress."
The school district denies revealing the Does' names and says it followed proper procedures after the parents complained.
Smith has not spoken publicly, but students say that he regularly gives students advance warning before presenting graphic images or excerpts from his memoirs, and uses them to reach students desensitized to violence and sex.
In the end, the Does will do far more harm to their child than Smith could have ever done.
This is because Smith is a teacher so beloved that area Internet bulletin boards are full of emails from present and former students praising him for his infectious teaching style and condemning the Does. There even was a demonstration in support of Smith outside of Pleasant Valley High School last weekend.
It is widely know at the school who the Goodie Four Shoes are, and their daughter surely will be teased, ridiculed and ostracized, a lesson that is not part of Smith's creative curriculum.This is a situation where it would be justifiable to out Jane and John Doe in the local newspaper for their self-righteous cowardice, but the Pocono Record doesn't do bold or courageous, so I'm not holding my breath.More here and here.