5th grader suspended after recording teacher taunting student

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FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Florida elementary student was suspended from school after she recorded audio of a teacher taunting a student during class.

Brianna Cooper, a fifth-grader at Fort Pierce Elementary School, recorded her teacher telling a classmate, “Don’t let the size fool you. I will drop you.”

Later in the recording, the teacher can be heard telling the student, “..biggest kid in the fifth grade and you acting like the smallest one.”

Cooper turned over the audio to school officials and the teacher was later fired, according to WPTV. However, Brianna was suspended from school for five days because the recording was “illegal.”

The school determined she obtained the recording illegally because it was made without the teacher’s knowledge and 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.

While school administrators say the teacher had an expectation of privacy, Brianna’s mom says this is not the case in a room full of students.

Brianna’s mother has asked the school to rescind the suspension and have it permanently removed from record.

The school issued a statement on the 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.

The school has not commented on the suspension of the student.

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6 comments

  • CommonSense

    My kid would be there the next day and anyone who tried to remove her from class would get a good old fashioned azz whooping. Way to go school officials. Suspend the kid for doing the right thing. Azzholes.

  • shannon

    Good job hun you did the right thing and you should be proud of yourself for helping another student. I remember a teacher making fun of another student in my class when I was younger and because of her everyone treated him bad. The school wouldnt have listened if you didnt have that recording and im sure the parents of the other child are very thankful for you and your parents should be very proud of you. The school should he ashaimed for suspending you. This action wil scare other students from standing up..

    • Joy Leaf

      The school is just doing their job. After all how long do you wait before teaching students that to use your rights and/or try to hold those in authority accountable will result in push back and punishment? For the very reason you mention in your last sentence. Schools need to be sure they turn out plenty of sheeple. I hope with Mom’s help they will fail with this wonderful girl.

  • Jessie

    This happens all to often and the schools do nothing about it. When my son was in 3rd grade his teacher told him his behavior was pathetic and he was acting like a baby. When I asked the teacher the next day if there was a miss communication he said no and didn’t understand why I was upset. He asked me if I preferred that he lie to him. I then spoke to the principal and nothing was done. My 8 yr didn’t understand how he could be such a bully and then tell the kids not to be.

  • Jeffry Lattymer

    How do you have expectation of privacy when you are teaching a room full of 30+ kids? Why is the school determining that she broke the law? If she broke the law shouldn’t they have contacted authorities? I would have loved to see a cop laugh about the schools interpretation of the wording.