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Local Family Seeking Law Suit Over Reprinted MySpace Journal Entry

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A local family claims the Coalinga High School principal went too far when he shared with others what a former student was writing on her Myspace.com page. This case could come down to what kind of privacy you can expect on the internet.

One young woman and her family wants the court to clear the way for a lawsuit after they say some sensitive on-line material sparked major backlash from their hometown.

Cynthia Moreno's journal on Myspace.com started with the words "the older I get...The more I realize how much I despise Coalinga." The 700 word online entry, called "An Ode to Coalinga" eventually made it into the local newspaper. That was more than a year ago and people in the small Fresno County town say they haven't forgotten about it.

John Albrecht, Coalinga teacher says, "I thought it was very immature and I thought it was very wrong. She really disrespected any friend she ever had here."

But Moreno says she never wanted the critical words to leave her myspace web page and she's trying to take the Coalinga-Huron Unified School District to court. According to court documents, Moreno accuses her former principal at Coalinga High School of distributing her controversial comments to students, teachers and the newspaper.

Moreno was a student at UC Berkeley at the time, but says the backlash in Coalinga included death threats and harassment of her younger sister, who was still attending Coalinga High School.

Moreno's attorney says the uproar eventually forced her entire family to move out of town and he says sharing Moreno's myspace journal without her permission amounted to an invasion of privacy.

Long-time Coalinga High teacher John Albrecht says he sees it differently. He says, "You write a letter anybody and everybody can read and then complain when someone turns around and complains in the paper... I think it's silly."

Neither the school district nor Cynthia Moreno or her attorney were available for an interview. The newspaper, The Coalinga Record also declined to comment, but the paper's former editor tells me she was fired for printing Moreno's myspace entry in the paper last year.

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