I live in the UK.
I recently sent an email to a group of my friends (only close friends) about an incident that has happened recently at my school through the school email (which operates through Outlook).

A member of staff has been arrested on suspicion of a crime (that I don't wish to mention) and is under continuing investigation. I mentioned this incident in a joke in this email.

The school have sinced tracked this email down - they've been monitoring emails for keywords since this case - and have now started questioning me about it.
What should I do? I fear this could have some serious implications - could I get in legal trouble or will it have to be maintained within the school?

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    Can you elaborate on the contents of the e-mail? I know freedom of speech works a bit differently across the pond, but I assume you'd have to be saying something dangerous to get in legal trouble. Of course - getting expelled from a school may not be a legal matter at all. If that's what you're worried about, consult your school's policies. – Patrick87 Feb 4 '16 at 17:18
  • The email didn't include hate crime, racism or anything of the sort. It was specific to the incident at my school - I don't think it was dangerous enough to be a legal matter if that's all I have to worry about. I'll look at my school's policies. Thanks! – iaminneedofhelp Feb 4 '16 at 17:21
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    With regard to the law itself, you should perhaps educate yourself about what does and does not constitute defamation (loosely, that means making a false statement that damages someone else's reputation). If your statement about the member of staff allows room for doubt that you necessarily believe him/her to be guilty, or if you merely mention that their guilt has been alleged by someone else, then your statement is usually quite defensible. But do remember, as has been pointed out in these comments, that schools are free to impose their own rules in addition to the law of the land. – jez Feb 4 '16 at 20:13
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    Depends on the nature of the e-mail. It could be very "jokey", but @jez has explained how it could be construed defamation. If you're worried about school consequences then remember that they're just teachers, overpaid babysitters, and nobody cares what they think. Speak with the Head and only the Head on the matter - that person should have real management responsibility and understand the consequences of someone "going to the press" should they decide to attack you in any way. Don't let any teachers bully you. – Ken Sharp Feb 5 '16 at 9:33
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    @sharur Truth is a defense under the Defamation Act of 2013 but the burden of proof of truth is on the defendant (which makes the UK a desirable "libel tourism" destination, although this was even worse before the 2013 Act) – jez Jun 17 '16 at 2:05

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