Parents usually give their children cell phones so they can call them in an emergency, but one Illinois student found another use and it may end up causing him to have a criminal record. Paul Boron is 13-years-old, and he’s facing a felony eavesdropping charge that could change the course of the rest of his life, reports IllinoisPolicy.org. The incident happened on Feb. 16 of this year when Boron was summoned to the principal’s office at Manteno Middle School after skipping out on a number of detentions he was supposed to serve. But before meeting Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short, he pressed record on his cellphone.
The student admitted that he argued with administrators for approximately 10 minutes in the school secretary’s reception area as the door remained open to the hallway. Things took a turn for the worse when Boron shared with Conrad and Short that he was recording. The principal allegedly told the teen that he was committing a felony and immediately put an end to their conversation. Flash forward two months and Boron was charged with one count of eavesdropping which is a class 4 felony in Illinois. The seriousness of the charge isn’t lost on the 13-year-old boy.
“If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined,” said Boron. “I think they’re going too far.”
IllinoisPolicy.org went on to report that Kankakee County Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Laws wrote in the petition to bring the charge that Boron “used a cellphone to surreptitiously record a private conversation between the minor and school officials without consent of all parties.” Members of the Manteno Community Unit School District No. 5 board, Conrad, and Short have not responded to requests made by IllinoisPolicy.org for comment. Needless to say, the charge was quite a shock to Boron’s mother, Leah McNally.
“It blew my mind that they would take it that far … I want to see him be able to be happy and live up to his full potential in life, especially with the disability he has,” she said. Boron is legally blind in his right eye. While the Manteno district handbook states that students shouldn’t record other students, it doesn’t say anything about whether or not a student can record interactions with teachers or administrators. This adds fodder to gray areas in Illinois’ eavesdropping law that have led to a number of legal battles and attempts to reform the law in recent years. As IllinoisPolicy.org noted, considering how intensely Illinois prosecutors have enforced the state’s eavesdropping law in the past, reforming the actual law may be Boron’s best hope.