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Fifth-Grader Suspended After She Records Teacher Allegedly “Bullying” A Friend

  • 4 min read

Fifth-Grader Suspended After She Records Teacher Allegedly “Bullying” A Friend

Bullying in the classroom does not only happen from one student to the other. There are instances where a teacher uses her power in bullying his or her students. And this is something that not all parents are aware of. When a fifth-grader happened to record a “bullying” incident inside the classroom between a teacher and another child, this student ended up getting a five-day suspension.

Cooper was able to audio record a teacher saying, “Don’t let the size fool you. I will drop you.” Then the teacher can be heard saying, “Biggest kid in the fifth grade and you acting like the smallest one.”

Cooper decided to turn over the recording to the school officials. The teacher ended up getting fired. However, Cooper has also suspended for “illegally” recording the incident. According to the school, Coopers’ recording was illegal because the teacher had no knowledge of it. And this means that Cooper violated the teacher’s expectation of privacy.

The Florida law states:

“Florida makes it a crime to intercept or record a “wire, oral, or electronic communication” in Florida unless all parties to the communication consent. Florida law makes an exception for in-person communications when the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation, such as when they are engaged in conversation in a public place where they might reasonably be overheard.”

The school also issued a statement as a response to the incident:

“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.” However, the school did not make any comment regarding the little girls’ suspension.

After hearing all this, Coopers’ mom did not agree with the administrators’ statement regarding the teachers’ expectations of privacy. That is because her comment was made in a class full of students. And she clearly said those words in a way that everyone would hear. Cooper did not record a private conversation. It was in a classroom setting which the mother believes her daughter did not violate any law.

Bullying is now getting national attention. And these days, cases such as this are being taken more seriously. But most of the time, the focus is one ‘kid-on-kid abuse. The physical abusers, taunters, tormentors, and even the mean girls at school are not the only threats to some students. In fact, even educators can do the opposite of protecting these children against bullying.

The teacher is the one who is supposed to stop bullying inside the classroom. But what happens when it is the teacher who uses her power and to bully the children? What happens when the teacher is the bully? How should the child respond?

If the teacher ends up being mean, then every child should know that walking out of the class, fighting back, or ignoring the teacher is not the best solution. However, they might also think that telling another teacher, the principal, or any adult that can help including you, can be tricky.

So as parents, always listen to what your children tell you. Spend some time talking about how their day went at school. Encourage your kids to be open and to tell you anything, whether it’s bad or good. This way, your kids would be more confident in sharing when their teacher is being bad to them.