Fifth-grader suspended for recording teacher verbally abusing students

[sharenow]

Some parents are saying a fifth-grade Florida student was unfairly suspended after she took matters into her own hands and exposed her belittling school teacher who was on a serious power trip.

Eleven-year-old Brianna Cooper from Fort Pierce said her teacher had been mean in the past and the only way to prove it was to record her.

“I thought I did the right thing,” Brianna told WSVN 7 News.

WSVN-TV – 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

At one point, the teacher could be heard saying to a student, “Don’t let the size fool you. I will drop you.”

She was also caught chastising Brianna’s classmate and said, “Biggest kid in the fifth grade and you acting like the smallest one.”

Brianna’s actions were vindicated when the recordings led to the firing of her teacher – but it also led to a punishment for Brianna.

Kassie Faulkner, Brianna’s mother, is proud of her daughter and glad the teacher is gone. But she doesn’t understand why Brianna was suspended for doing the right thing.

The debate comes after Brianna was reprimanded by the school because it’s illegal in Florida to record somebody without their knowledge since there is an “expectation of privacy.”

Attorney Michelle Suskauer said the laws are outdated. “We have not caught up legally with what is happening technologically,” she said.

“You can’t look at this in a vacuum and say, ‘Well, the child videotaped a teacher, and therefore that was illegal, so the child needs to be suspended for five days,’” Suskauer said.

It raises the question about how much “privacy” a school teacher is entitled to while on the job working with other peoples’ children.

Brianna’s parents are standing by their daughter’s decision to record her teacher and maintain her punishment was unwarranted. They also worried about the timing of her suspension, which landed over the preparation period for Florida’s Standards Assessment Test.

Related: Fourth-grade firecracker gets standing O for feisty speech on testing

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