Mother charged with felony after putting recorder in child’s knapsack to show bullying

By Darran Simon, CNN

(CNN)– When Sarah Sims’ child complained she was being bullied in elementary school, the Virginia mother grew worried.

Sims reached out to administrators at Ocean View Grade School in Norfolk, Virginia, where her child remains in fourth grade, but she said she got no reaction. In September, Sims decided to investigate on her own.

She sent her child to school with a digital audio recorder in her knapsack, hoping to record audio from the classroom. School authorities learnt and confiscated the device, which had actually remained in her child’s desk tape-recording the school day.

Now, Sims, who is herself a trainee at Virginia’s Norfolk State University, is in problem with law.

Earlier this month, Norfolk authorities charged Sims with a felony– intercepting wire, electronic or oral communications — and with a misdemeanor– contributing to the delinquency of a minor

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

She confronts five years in prison if founded guilty on the felony charge.

“I was appalled when I heard these charges,” Sims’ lawyer Kristin Paulding said. “I was stunned to see that the school would decide to go to the cops department and ultimately charge this mom instead of sitting her down and having simply a simple conversation about exactly what were her issues and how might the school reduce those issues.”

Paulding said the recording gadget “was a method to make sure that class was a safe location” for the kid. Since it was seized, Paulding said she doesn’t know exactly what– if anything– the recorder caught.

CNN connected to Norfolk police on Monday but authorities decreased to talk about the case. Authorities have actually not launched a criminal grievance.

Virginia is a one-party permission state, implying it is legal for somebody to tape others when the person recording is involved in the conversation or when among the celebrations in the conversation has offered prior consent.

The Norfolk commonwealth’s attorney’s workplace, which would prosecute the charges, stated it just got the case report and hasn’t started examining, inning accordance with spokeswoman Amanda Howie.

Norfolk Public Schools referred questions to Norfolk cops.

“We are not able to comment on any pending legal matters,” school district spokesperson Khalilah LeGrand said in an email.

Sims said she does not know why the school called the cops and not her when the event happened last month.

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

In 3rd grade, her child “had been begun her stomach and struck with a jump rope on the play ground,” Sims stated, including that the school didn’t alert her then.

“She became very nervous about participating in,” Sims said. “I removed her from the school since she was choosing not to go. She seemed like she wasn’t secured.”

Sims stated her daughter aimed to stay favorable when she faced bullying once again this school year.

“I did not want to just agree my kid. I wanted to be fair,” Sims said.

When her daughter complained, Sims attempted to motivate her in the beginning.

“I felt like I kind of let her down a bit since I wasn’t believing her,” Sims said.

Sims’ child still goes to the school however is now is a various class.

A court date is set for January 18.

The-CNN-Wire
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