You’d like to think that ultimately, good conquers evil. Sometimes you have to do something that’s not right in order to prove that something else wrong is happening, and you want to believe that your bad thing would then get overlooked. Unfortunately, that’s not always the way the world works, and sometimes you learn the hard way that the world isn’t fair.
Take, for example, Brianna Cooper, an 11-year-old girl from Florida who was suspended for five days after she recorded her teacher saying nasty things about another student in the class. Cooper had been witnessing the bullying for a while, but she knew that if she didn’t have proof, no one would believe her.
“You think that they would actually believe a student over a teacher,” Brianna said, explaining her rationale behind recording the situation.
She decided to use her cellphone to record what her teacher was saying and prove that she was being a bully. Brianna took the recording to another teacher, and not long after she was called to the principal’s office to let her know what she did was illegal. As it turns out, in Florida you cannot record a teacher without their consent.
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.
“I thought I did the right thing,” Brianna said. “I never had anybody tell me I couldn’t record.”
The comments made by the teacher towards another student were appalling.
“Biggest kid in 5th grade and you’re acting like the smallest one” the teacher can be heard saying. “I wonder what your mom looks like. Don’t let the size fool you. I will drop you. You don’t know me. That’s all I’m telling you. So don’t give me no look.”
Brianna’s mom, Cassie Faulkner, was upset when she heard about not only the comments, but also her daughter’s suspension from school.
“You don’t speak to children, let alone your students like that,” Cassie said. “She thought she was doing a good thing. She’s 11 years old. She doesn’t know the law. You’re pretty much saying to students, ‘If you think anything is wrong, don’t try and do anything about it.'”
The school didn’t comment on the suspension of Brianna, but they did acknowledge the comments made by their teacher.
“The staff at Sam Gaines Academy investigated the incident involving unprofessional behavior by the teacher and took swift, appropriate action,” the school said. “The teacher was dismissed and no longer works for the school system.”
To me, this is a case of school’s protecting their teachers ahead of their students, which shouldn’t be the case. Despite the school firing that teacher, they still suspended a student for a full week just for reporting an unsafe environment. I understand there are laws, but should they not be ignored when the safety of children is involved?