A Florida girl wanted to document one of her teachers bullying another student, so she grabbed her cell phone and captured audio of the teacher saying horrible things to the student. Unfortunately, the school chose to suspend the girl for “violating the teacher’s privacy,” WPTV (West Palm Beach) is reporting.
Brianna Cooper, 11, wanted to defend another classmate from a teacher whom she (Brianna) believed was bullying that classmate. She recorded some rather damning audio and played it for school administrators at Samuel Gaines Academy in Fort Pierce.
“Don’t let size fool you. I will drop you… You don’t know me, that’s all I’m saying. So, don’t give me no look. You’re the biggest kid in 5th grade and you’re acting like the smallest one…. I wonder what your mom looks like.”
Brianna played her recording of the bullying incident to another teacher, according to Treasure Coast Newspapers. The school fired the bullying teacher.
“The staff at Sam Gaines Academy investigated the incident involving unprofessional behavior by the teacher and took swift, appropriate action. The teacher was dismissed and no longer works for the school system.”
Although the school did ultimately fire the teacher for the bullying incident, the school also made the decision to suspend Brianna for five days for making the recording, saying that her recording was illegal and violated the teacher’s expectation of privacy.
In fact, Brianna’s actions while recording the bullying teacher may have actually been legal – although she undoubtedly violated school policy by using her cell phone. As reporter Meghan McRoberts notes, “Law enforcement officers said recording someone without their knowledge can be legal, as long as there is not an expectation of privacy.”
While school administrators claim that the teacher had an expectation of privacy, Brianna’s mother isn’t buying it, saying that a teacher can’t expect privacy in a classroom full of kids, particularly when they know that many of the students will have cell phones.
Or, as Photography Is Not A Crime blogger Carlos Miller says:
“And finally, in this day and age where most public schools are using surveillance video cameras throughout school property, can one seriously expect to have an expectation of privacy in school anywhere outside a bathroom or locker room?”
Brianna’s mother is asking the school to rescind Brianna’s suspension and have it removed from her record, arguing that her daughter was only trying to do the right thing.
As of this post, the teacher captured bullying another student on Brianna’s cell phone has not been publicly identified.
[Images courtesy of: Shutterstock/Ollyy]