Charges against mother who aimed to tape bullying of child are dropped

( CNN)– Virginia district attorneys stated Wednesday they had dropped all charges versus a mom who was accused of unlawfully tape-recording audio from her child’s class– an action she stated was indicated to help her determine whether the child was being bullied.

Sarah Sims, 47, of Norfolk, had actually been charged this month with a felony– intercepting wire, electronic or oral interactions — and with a misdemeanor after her child’s grade school told cops it took a digital audio recorder in the lady’s desk in September.

Sims might have been sentenced to approximately 5 years in prison had she been founded guilty of the felony.

There was enough proof to support the charges, which included a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, commonwealth lawyer’s workplace spokeswoman Amanda Howie stated.

” However, after reviewing the facts and circumstances specific to this case, the office is exercising prosecutorial discretion to not pursue the prosecution of this case,” Howie said.

The decision to drop the charges comes 2 days after Sims explained her side of the story on “CNN Tonight.”

‘ I was horrified when I heard these charges’

On Monday, Sims informed CNN’s Don Lemon that she sent her daughter, a fourth-grader, to school with a digital audio recorder in her knapsack in September, intending to record audio from class, since the woman had actually grumbled she was being bullied.

Before the sent the recorder, Sims said, she reached out to administrators at Ocean View Primary school to talk about the girl’s complaints

Sims, who herself is a trainee at Virginia’s Norfolk State University, stated she got no action, so she chose to examine on her own.

“I’m a full-time trainee, so I don’t always get the opportunity to be on the premises, and I thought that this would be a good way for me to learn the environment,” Sims, 47, informed CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday.

School officials discovered and confiscated the device, which had remained in her daughter’s desk taping the school day, at the end of September.

An arrest warrant was released November 1, and after she turned herself in, she was arraigned in court on November 8. She posted bond, and a court date was set for January.

“I was appalled when I heard these charges,” Sims’ attorney Kristin Paulding informed CNN on Monday. “I was stunned to see that the school would choose to go to the cops department and eventually charge this mother instead of sitting her down and having simply a simple conversation about exactly what were her concerns and how might the school relieve those issues.”

Paulding stated the recording device “was a method to make sure that class was a safe place” for the child. Because it was seized, Paulding stated she does not understand exactly what– if anything– the recorder captured.

CNN connected to Norfolk cops on Monday however authorities declined to comment on the case.

After the charges were dropped Wednesday, Norfolk Public Schools spokeswoman Khalilah LeGrand said the district “had a duty to totally examine the supposed incident, and as such, a legal review was requested from” the Norfolk city lawyer’s office, which functions as the district’s legal counsel.

After review of the incident, counsel forwarded the matter to the Norfolk Authorities Department for examination,” LeGrand stated in a composed statement. “That examination then resulted in criminal charges versus Sarah Sims.

“As the area of the offense was one of our schools, NPS had a responsibility to completely comply with authorities. This included not discussing a pending legal matter, as is customary in all school districts.”

Virginia is a one-party permission state, meaning it is legal for somebody to record others when the individual recording is involved in the discussion or when one of the celebrations in the conversation has actually offered prior approval.

Bullying problems.

It wasn’t the very first time her child had actually been bullied at the school, Sims stated Monday.

In 3rd grade, her child “had actually been kicked in her stomach and struck with a jump rope on the playground,” Sims said, adding that the school didn’t notify her then.

“She became extremely anxious about going to,” Sims stated. “I eliminated her from the school due to the fact that she was choosing not to go. She felt like she wasn’t secured.”

Sims stated her child tried to remain favorable when she dealt with bullying again this academic year.

“I did not wish to simply side with my kid. I wanted to be reasonable,” Sims stated.

When her child complained, Sims aimed to motivate her initially.

“I seemed like I kind of let her down a little bit because I wasn’t thinking her,” Sims stated.

Sims’ child still attends the school but is now is a different class.

LeGrand, the school district spokeswoman, said NPS takes “any accusation of bullying, whether by a student or employee, very seriously.”

“In every circumstances, a comprehensive examination is carried out. In addition, school and district administrators always work closely with parents and students to quickly resolve concerns and provide lodgings when necessary,” she stated. “It is NPS’ practice to deal with parent problems internally.”

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