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.
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 mother 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.