November 24, 2017

Bullying.

"Mom puts recorder in child’s backpack to catch bullying, now... charged with felony use of device to intercept oral communication and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

60 comments:

Darrell said...

The actual crime is embarrassing officials that fail to protect your children. And catching their children in a criminal act.

Big Mike said...

As Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying, tar and feathers. Based on what’s in this story, it seems that a coat of tar and feathers would look good on the principal, any vice principals, the child’s teacher, and the local rep for the teacher’s union.

John Lynch said...

Charging the mom? Really? Yeah, there's bullying going on, all right.

Saint Croix said...

See also David Daleiden.

Government doesn't like to be embarrassed. Check.

Government also is hostile to mothers and their babies. Check!

If you get a job with government media, on the other hand, you can spy on people all you want.

traditionalguy said...

It seems odd to civilians, but the most serious crime of them all among the police is " Impersonation of a Police Officer." Think of this as a Union activity.

james james said...

"felony use of device to intercept oral communication"

Because bullies have an expectation of privacy when conducting their proclivities.

This would make me really upset if I hadn't already started drinking this morning.

-jj

Guildofcannonballs said...

I agree with the Powerline blogger that America needs to lock up a lot more of these criminals for a long long time. How can I feel safe if people are allowed to record other folks without everyone having knowledge of the recording taking place? Fucking anarchy way worse than Hell.

My America arrests people for recording others, then throws the damn key away.

There is no liberty for me when felons can record Scott-free.

The Vault Dweller said...

While I do think the threat of bullying against children is vastly exaggerated, felony charges for this seems more than a little absurd.

Saint Croix said...

The Norfolk school system supposedly takes a tough stand against bullying.

Weird to put that up on your own website and then not respond to a parent who is alleging their daughter is being bullied.

Yet another reason to support school choice and empower parents as to where their children are to be educated.

Saint Croix said...

the threat of bullying against children is vastly exaggerated

I remember as a kid that I hated bullies. I once got in a fight because somebody was bullying a smaller kid.

I also remember that some of my behavior, particularly in elementary school, might very well qualify as bullying. In my defense I would have said, "I was just teasing."

Also when I was a kid, adults would teach us, "sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt me." That sort of speech-conduct distinction is very basic free speech stuff. Do we still tell kids that?

james james said...

There was a school teacher who came into the bar for awhile. Kept to himself, usually read a book.

Maybe he was there because he became disillusioned with our bureaucratic educational system.

Maybe he was there because he became disillusioned with the kids.

Or maybe he had improper relations with some of the kids, and feared the hammer would fall any day now.

If you don't tell your story at the bar people will make up your story for you.

Maybe it's just his wife cheating on him with his best friend.

That's always a good one.

-jj

Fernandistien said...

Good luck, bogus persecutor:

"In those cases, the courts have determined that the child whose conversations were taped had provided vicarious consent to the recording through the parent who made the recording. In Pollock v. Pollock, 975 F. Supp. 974 (W.D. Ky. 1997), it was held that the mother who taped her child’s telephone conversations with the father did not violate the federal wiretapping statute. The mother successfully argued that the taping of the phone calls was done with the children’s consent, not actual consent, but vicarious consent."
https://www.michiehamlett.com/coughter-videotaping-recording/

Sean Gleeson said...

Virginia has a one-party consent wiretapping law. So it is not a crime to record any conversation you are in, even if your interlocutors are unaware of the recording.

I was surprised that neither the author of the article, nor the attorney representing the defendant, mentioned this fact, which would have instantly exonerated her, provided the events really happened as described.

Are there important details we are not being told? Did the mother put the recorder in her daughter’s bag without her knowledge or consent? Was thew child instructed to record conversations she was not in herself? Were any such conversations actually recorded? And if any of those is true, doesn’t the bullying rationale kind of lose its credibility?

tim in vermont said...

Are there important details we are not being told?

Of course not! How dare you ask such a question!

MikeR said...

@Big Mike. Yup. The whole _point_ of the conservative preference for local government (where possible) is that they are more accountable. That is, more accessible to tar and feather.

Chuck said...

There are so many more interesting and unexplored crim law questions here. Virginia is a one-party consent state for recording conversations. Does a party's lack of adult status vitiate the ability to be the one party "consenting" for Virginia law? Did this child even know about the recording? Did the mom purposely plot it with her keeping her child ignorant of the recording device? Was the recording device used to record other conversations without the participation/consent of the child? (For instance, the backpack being left in a room to record conversations without the child being there.)

tim in vermont said...

the threat of bullying against children is vastly exaggerated

Perhaps, but we had a little girl in our elementary school who was relentlessly bullied. She was recognized as a sort of "untouchable" as much as the most popular kid was universally recognized in that role. I don't remember ever bullying her, or taunting her, but I never questioned it because it seemed to be the thing everybody did, and I like to think I would never have done it, but who knows, really, if I did or not. If I tried to gain acceptance by doing it. Well maybe she knows. I saw on Facebook somebody with her name, but she was the wrong age. She would have been well served if some adult had known and stood up for her.

RigelDog said...

Terribly written article. As others have noted, the legal issues are fascinating and consent to record or eavesdrop laws vary widely from state to state. And who doesn't want to know if there was any bullying recorded?

tim maguire said...

traditionalguy said...It seems odd to civilians

Police officers are civilians.

but the most serious crime of them all among the police is " Impersonation of a Police Officer."

That's not odd at all given how vulnerable people are required to make themselves to police. What's odd is that criminal activity under color of law is not dealt with as seriously as impersonating a police officer. It presents the same threat.

Think of this as a Union activity.

Oh.

james james said...

When I was in junior high I had a bully. He waited for the school bus at the same location as me. He was good-looking, and already smoked: the girls loved him.

I was tall, but still skinny. New to the area. And bookish.

He'd pick on me as we waited, and the girls waiting there for the school bus would laugh.

I had previously told my mother about the situation, and she had counseled me to ignore him. That wasn't working.

This time I went in to talk to my Dad. My Dad was an ex-Marine. His eyes perked up when I told him my situation. He then explained to me that I had stand my ground, or it wouldn't stop. Make him throw the first punch. And, if I lost, there was nothing to be ashamed of. But if I won, make sure the bully fully knew that I won.

So the next day at the bus stop my bully picked on me, as usual. The girls laughed, as usual.

I told him I was tired of this, and dared him to throw the first punch. Daring someone as a kid was a big thing. He laughed, threw a punch, and missed.

I hit back, and kept hitting. I was afraid to stop hitting. Even after I had him on the ground I kept hitting, until he yelped for me to stop.

The girls weren't laughing now, which might have even been better than beating him.

The next day at the bus stop he lit up a smoke, then offered me a cigarette.

I accepted. I didn't know how to smoke, but I did my best. Coughing, etc. He told me everyone coughs when they have their first cigarette, no big deal.

We didn't become friends or anything. But I got to join the circle, waiting for the bus.

--jj

Darrell said...

the threat of bullying against children is vastly exaggerated

Yeah. That's probably why a couple of kids committed suicide in the last few months because their school life was a living hell.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

What the hell is going on in the heads of the school officials and the prosecutor? Charging this woman with a felony is very harsh. I think this was an incident that should have been handled with a discussion with the mom. Time for jury nullification. Could they be over charging to get her to plea bargain? Why?

Crazy Jane said...

There was a woman in my neighborhood who stood outside the elementary school fence every day at recess time to watch her daughter, who said (and I believe) she was being bullied by the mean girls.

Was the mother a voyeur?

A 12-year-old girl in my state killed herself this summer at the end of her first year of middle school -- what a terrible idea middle school is! -- and daily bullying, in person and online, by another mean-girl squad. ("Why don't you kill yourself?" was a common text.) She was a cute kid who made and sold crafts, then donated the money to animal rescue. The state has a law that requires schools to report and document of every single bullying complaint, but the school administrators didn't even take the first step, despite the parents' repeated calls and visits.

What are parents supposed to do?

Clyde said...

The mother is black. She needs to cry racism and get the Al Sharptons and NAACPs of the world to do something useful for a member of their constituency.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cronus titan said...

It is much easier to deal with the kid being bullied than the bully. Parents we know have had jaw-dropping conversations with school officials who explain how the bullied kid needs to avoid the bully and a not so subtle insinuation that the bullied kid is responsible for starting it, so best not to say anything.

This story is typical in these instances. Much easier to intimidate the family of the bullied kid than it is to deal with the bully. The government will always choose the path of least resistance.

Robert Cook said...

"While I do think the threat of bullying against children is vastly exaggerated...."

Not to the kids being bullied.

In sending their kids to school, parents entrust their children to the care of other adults, adults who teach in or run the schools. Those adults have a responsibility to protect each child from being abused, bullied, taunted, or otherwise interfered with by other children.

Saint Croix said...

The mother is black. She needs to cry racism

I'm glad she's not.

Let me criticize liberals and the liberal mindset for a minute. One of the reasons Brown v. Board was so controversial is that it involved children.

I'm speculating here, but I imagine Thurgood Marshall was well aware that many people like children more than adults. We want to protect children. We view them as innocent. At any rate, they are not a threat to us. So that's why he filed suit to desegregate the schools. He thought the judges would be sympathetic to little children. He was filing many lawsuits over many forms of segregation, of course. But it was the one involving schools and children that became so controversial. The same dynamic--adults want to protect children--caused the anger over Brown to be so intense because children were involved.

Why make children do the hard work of racial integration, anyway?

Perhaps part of it too was the idea to indoctrinate children. Let children play together and study together and they will stop hating each other, regardless of what their parents say. Maybe that was the idea, too.

But of course power is dangerous and corrupting. If we feel like our children are being indoctrinated--forced to think a certain way--parents become suspicious. The rise of private schools probably had something to do with racism. But it also had to do with this fear of government schools and indoctrination. The same liberals who said that there could be no racism in the public schools also said their could be no prayer in the public schools. This was a liberal idea about what a good school should be like.

The more you dictate what is acceptable in a public school, the more people run away from public schools. When somebody like Hillary says it "takes a village" to raise a child, many parents are suspicious of this alleged village that will be raising their children and telling them how to think, what to say, how to behave, and who not to pray to.

Robert Cook said...

"Also when I was a kid, adults would teach us, "sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt me." That sort of speech-conduct distinction is very basic free speech stuff. Do we still tell kids that?"

Does it matter? To a child being singled out for bullying, even if it is "only" name-calling, the mistreatment can be excruciating. I don't think a child subject to such treatment will appreciate or understand the fine points of "basic free speech stuff."

Mary Beth said...

"contributing to the delinquency of a minor"

For what? Is it because she got her daughter to join her in the "crime" of recording her bullies?

EDH said...

Should the doctrine of self defense (or the defense of others) be expanded as an affirmative defense in criminal cases like this one where physical force is not directly implicated?

MadisonMan said...

I will suggest that surreptitious recording in school is against the law because the Teachers' Union had their Demo buddies pass a law to protect bad teachers from having their poor abilities exposed.

Were I on the jury for this woman, I would never vote to convict.

themightypuck said...

Exposing just how bad a state run school is is obviously a criminal act.

Saint Croix said...

Does it matter?

Yeah, I think free speech matters.

To a child being singled out for bullying, even if it is "only" name-calling, the mistreatment can be excruciating.

As I said, I don't like bullies.

I also really dislike the attempt to criminalize childish behavior.

I got in a lot of fights as a kid. One time I got in a fight with three guys. (Lost that one). I am pretty sure I did not report them or try to get them in trouble. I don't think it even occurred to me to seek adult help. My experience with fighting is that the authorities didn't give a damn who started it or what the wrong was. We all got suspended for a week or two. So under that regime, reporting a fight would be a stupid idea.

The idea of reporting some kid for calling me a name would have been a joke!

Saint Croix said...

I also remember, when I was in the middle of one of my suspensions, that a girl I really liked, Lindsay Lutz, oh my God I was a big fan of Lindsay Lutz, anyway she slapped another girl and gave her a nose bleed.

No suspension. My mom was like, "that's not fair!"

She was really worked up because this was the one when I was defending a kid from a bully. Anyway she was in the vice principal's office, letting him know how unfair it was. And my mom brought a priest with her, I'm not sure why. Moral support. Anyway, she went around to all my teachers and got my work assignments so I could do the work at home. And the vice principal was following her around, saying, "you don't have to give her anything," to the teachers, but they gave her my assignments anyway.

Seeing Red said...

My daughter was bullied for 6 years. We kept telling her it would get better when she got to HS with new friends.

We ended up moving schools but the social media impression still follows.

AND STILL FOLLOWS.

She was deliberately and maliciously robbed of those years and a better education at a better school because of envious bitter bitches.

This will haunt her the rest of her life. She has very little trust making friends.

She was othered by students and coaches. Coaches because she dared to drop the sport.

Seeing Red said...

This area is toxic to her but we can't move.

She will have lost a decade 10 years! of good positive experiences she should have had.

She's adopted and in Jr. High was told her since her parents didn't want her she was an unfinished abortion and should kill herself.


Females have always been vile nasty creatures, but right or wrong, I blame feminism and progressivism for removing civility.

What happened to her is what's going on in the country from a certain POV.

Yancey Ward said...

This is what jury nullification is for.

Matthew Sablan said...

I will be surprised if she gets found guilty. But the process is the punishment.

Michael K said...

Also when I was a kid, adults would teach us, "sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt me." That sort of speech-conduct distinction is very basic free speech stuff. Do we still tell kids that?

Years ago, before the current leftist wave, we had an "honor culture" which is a variation of "Shame-Honor culture." In that case, we were responsible for defending ourselves and the "sticks and stones" rule applied.

Then we developed a "Dignity Culture" in which we left violence to the authorities and reported incidents that might have led to fights or even duels in the earlier era.

Now, with the leftist wave of the past 50 years, we have a "Victimhood Culture" in which the victim is encouraged to exaggerate the bullying or the "microaggressions" detected.

The "mean girl" culture has grown but the victims of such bullying are ignored. Boys are not allowed to go the Honor route and fight.

I talked to a kid applying to the military last week who was suspended for a week from school for fighting when he finally turned on the kid who had been bullying him.

I told him I was tired of this, and dared him to throw the first punch. Daring someone as a kid was a big thing. He laughed, threw a punch, and missed.

I hit back, and kept hitting. I was afraid to stop hitting. Even after I had him on the ground I kept hitting, until he yelped for me to stop.


I had a similar experience as a kid of about 8 or 10. A neighbor kid who was two years older used to chase me and I would run away. One day, he caught me and I turned in desperation to fight. He ran away.

It was a revelation. Not allowed anymore.

iowan2 said...

"What the hell is going on in the heads of the school officials and the prosecutor? Charging this woman with a felony is very harsh."

This is always the take away for me.
What were the administrators thinking? Yes, exactly what? These are the 'experts' that leftist want to govern us. Common people dont have the knowledge to govern, therefor, we the people must submit to the educated among us.
Our state of education today at all levels disproves that stupid notion.

Michael K said...

" I blame feminism and progressivism for removing civility. "

Yes, this is Third Wave Feminism.

Saint Croix said...

Females have always been vile nasty creatures

You know your daughter is a female, right?

Mac McConnell said...

Saint Croix is correct concerning the suspension thing. I got sucker punched once in junior high by a greaser as I turned the corner in a stair well. When I went to the next class the teacher notice the baseball size hematoma where my eye once was, sent me to the principals office and was suspended three days for fighting. I never threw a punch.

Middle class values dictate the girls don't fight, so girls have a different problem. It's usually social bullying by other girls or sexual by boys.

In my case my father always taught me to avoid fighting at all cost unless there was no way out or there was a very just cause. I was bullied in the summer after sixth grade by three older guys, these guys followed me everywhere that summer, even harassing me as I played little league baseball. They would stand at the fence behind me as I played center field. I was intimidated, humiliated and afraid. The humiliation was the worst, as my father was over seas I felt I had no one to go to. I was constantly escaping from them, I felt like a coward. Long story short, after a CYO dance that Fall they approached me as I stood next to Kathy Newton, A girl I had a giant crush on. As they started to taunt me one of them pushed me, I snapped and knocked him out cold. A legend was born.

Never again would a bully control me or bully the retards of my neighborhood or hit a woman in front of me. Have I lost some fights in the good cause, sure, but I've marked them. I never knew I could be so violent, it's a rush. Turns out bullies are cowards.

Fernandistien said...

My daughter had some jr-high guy picking on her so she finally stabbed the guy in the neck with a pencil. After that he left her alone but she had to write a paper about something-or-other.

mockturtle said...

Ridiculous! As silly as the 'zero tolerance' drug rules where a child is expelled for possessing an aspirin. Our institutions have become bereft of sound judgment and common sense.

Yancey Ward said...

"After that he left her alone but she had to write a paper about something-or-other.

I hope the title of the paper was, "Locating the Carotid Artery by Sight Alone."

mockturtle said...

I hope the title of the paper was, "Locating the Carotid Artery by Sight Alone."

LOL!

Oso Negro said...

I was double-promoted from second to fourth grade. In fifth grade they made me sit with the sixth-grade. This in an inner-city school. I grew up to be a mean sonofabitch and I don’t tolerate bullying behavior.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

This is exactly like my own story, except that my mom wasn't in it. I was relentlessly bullied on the school bus, almost entirely by girls. (Where do people get the idea that only boys bully?) It was "only" verbal, but incessant, and I'd done nothing more provocative than try to curl up in a corner and read a book. That's provocation enough, apparently.

So one day I brought along my mom's mini tape recorder, and let it run. And, when I got home, wrote out a transcript and left it with the school principal the next morning. And the bullying stopped, instantly. I gather some parents got some stern phone calls.

I don't know whether NY was a one-party consent state at the time. I'd say probably not. But I wasn't charged.

Jupiter said...

james james said...

"Because bullies have an expectation of privacy when conducting their proclivities."

This is the crux of the matter. The laws against recording are there to protect "a reasonable expectation of privacy". But as the ongoing sexual predation scandals are demonstrating perfectly, privacy can be abused. The choice is between a world where everything is recorded, and a world where conduct we deplore occurs with impunity. I don't much care for either choice.

mockturtle said...

While I don't remember ever being bullied, I remember that my elementary school girlfriends and I would have little feuds that often resulted in hair pulling and face slapping. We always made up, though, and many of us are still friends.

Seeing Red said...

So am I, St Croix. I have very little regard for my sex.

mockturtle said...

Actually, I have regard for those of my sex it's only that I find I have very little in common with most of them. My mother and sister [though my sister is on the other end of the political spectrum] are exceptions. Other than them and the women here on this blog, most women seem shallow and petty.

As a child, I always preferred listening to the men's conversations than those of the women. But I never, even for a moment, wanted to be male. I've enjoyed being female and being a wife and mother--my most important career--just as I am enjoying my current independence.

Bob said...

On the face of it, the story is absurd and outrageous. The reality is there is no little good information as to render it almost useless.

What kind of "bullying" took place? Verbal? Physical? Exclusionary (some kids won't eat lunch with her)? Perceived only? The story offers no clue.

"The recorder was found." Period. That sometimes-necessary-but-oft-ridiculous passive tense. Who found the recorder, and how did they find it? Did a fight break out and the kids' backpacks get searched, say for weapons (I know, passive tense again)? Did one of the allegedly bullying kids find it in the victim's backpack?

It took a month for the police to charge Ms Sims. A month? The investigative report should make for interesting reading.

If there really is serious bullying going on here, and the school ignored it, I suspect it's because the school is more afraid of the bullying kids' parents than they are of Ms Sims.

bagoh20 said...

The traditional police state seems kinda nice by comparison to what we have made with the PC bulldozer.

Michael K said...

"And, when I got home, wrote out a transcript and left it with the school principal the next morning. And the bullying stopped, instantly. "

My youngest daughter (Is this, as I suspect, a more recent development with girls ?) was getting nasty e-mails from a girl at school. Her mother printed out the messages and took them to school.

It stopped. I had forgotten until you recounted that story.

openidname said...

"EDH said...

"Should the doctrine of self defense (or the defense of others) be expanded as an affirmative defense in criminal cases like this one where physical force is not directly implicated?"

Seems easier to repeal the stupid anti-recording statute than to go messing with well-established self-defense principles.

Crazy Jane said...

Seeing Red, I am so sorry about what your daughter has endured.

I'd love to gather a group of real women to go crack heads at those schools, felony be damned.

Char Char Binks said...

Students in my class when I was in sixth grade secretly recorded, on audio cassette, a teacher being abusive. It turned out to be not so secret, and the students got in trouble. It was about 50% the teacher being abusive and 50% students egging her on for a gotcha. The teacher was pretty bad, horrible, actually, but my classmates were mostly trying to catch her swearing.