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Old 06-13-2009, 10:32 PM
 
737 posts, read 1,849,585 times
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Hello,

Is it legal for a parent to put a tape recorder in a (10 year old) studentís backpack in order verify that the studentís teacher is singling the child out and speaking very negatively to the kids?

This would be after the parent heard negative things from the student all year, and tried to make things better by talking to the teacher at least 5 times and the assistant principal twice.

And, what if the parent put the tape recorder in the backpack anyway, and in the only hour of tape, the parent captured the teacher saying to the class, ďI donít care if you are a goon, baboon, jerk, idiot, moron, clown, or anything else I can think of, do your workĒÖ..would you say anything to the principal at this point in the year, and what would you say?

Input and advice (for the parent is appreciated). Thank you.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:37 PM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
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Good for you!! They've got 20 some to 30 some students, while I have know doubt how stressfull a day in the life of a teacher may be, they think that because there's no other adults around, that they have no one to answer to. Shouldn't be teaching.

My grand daughter had a similar problem, she was in the 5th grade at the time, she had a male teacher. He made quite a few remarks that would go over the other kids heads, but she would catch it and call him on it every time. There were quite a few converences with the principal involved. He finally got it together and stoped.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:51 AM
 
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It is illegal to tape record anyone without their knowledge. Also, from whom did you hear these remarks? If it is your child I would be careful about making accusations until you get both sides of the story. Kids tend to embellish things and often their story is not quite true.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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Hi golfgal (and thanks Virgode!),

My child is not perfect , and there are a lot of blaming the teacher posts. However, what about situations where the child is telling the truth, and nobody believes them because kids tend to embellish things? Things like the teacher saying "don't you ever shut up", "immature goon" and asking the class what she should do about a child's behavior (the first two were towards other kids and the last one towards my child).

I do not want to be too detailed on here. However, stories my child has told me, have matched up to things his teacher later told me. For example, the teacher hurt her foot in the early part of the year. My child (son) told me that the teacher told the class to be quiet because her foot was hurting. My son talked to another student, and the teacher said to him "do you even care about my foot,,,,,no you do not." Later, the teacher told me about another student in the class, and she said "that student is great, he cares more about my foot than I do". Also, I have heard a few things from parents (per their child), that also matched up.

Anyway, thanks for the information. This situation has been affecting my son all year and things seemed to have gotten worse after I talked to the assistant principal. I am hoping he does not have a label next year because of everything this year (some of the kids treat him the way she does "does x even have half a brain!?", plus I think teacher's talk amongst themselves).
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:24 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
249 posts, read 467,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by virgode View Post
Good for you!! They've got 20 some to 30 some students, while I have know doubt how stressfull a day in the life of a teacher may be, they think that because there's no other adults around, that they have no one to answer to. Shouldn't be teaching.

My grand daughter had a similar problem, she was in the 5th grade at the time, she had a male teacher. He made quite a few remarks that would go over the other kids heads, but she would catch it and call him on it every time. There were quite a few converences with the principal involved. He finally got it together and stoped.
Would you feel the same way if the teacher secretly set up a recorder or video camera and taped a student in the class?
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Earth
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I would use the incident to teach your child tolerance and how to emotionally handle situations in which people are not respectful or exercise bad manners.

Not everyone in the world is going to have good manners or is going to behave respectfully. Yes, it is infuriating--but do you really want to teach your child to "go after" people who are disrespectful or rude to him/her?

I would certainly stress to your child that what the teacher is doing is not acceptable, and that you only hope that your child will remember how hurtful such behavior is to others and remember not to treat others with such a lack of respect. Furthermore, as a parent, you have done as much as you possibly can to reason with the teacher and the administration, providing an excellent example to your child of civilized and mature behavior; I wouldn't undermine that example by behaving in a vengeful manner.

Lastly, my heartfelt sympathies to you as a parent. I know that it is agonizing to think of your child being treated in such a manner. But my advice is to rise above it, and not to give in to your feelings of anger and outrage. And if the situation is really that bad, I would try to enroll my child in a different school (although I would notify the principal, District, etc. as to your reason.)
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:03 PM
 
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In Texas, only 1 side needs to be aware of the tape recording. I think it depends on the state - if it's a one party state or if both parties have to be aware.

I had a parent ask me once to pay attention when I was doing some volunteer work in the classroom because she felt the teacher was treating her child badly. I was in the classroom once a week for 3 hours for a couple of months and the teacher was absolutely treating this particular child badly. I let the mom know. The teacher was ultimately fired for how she was treating other kids in the classroom however. My son loved that teacher and had no trouble with her.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:27 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,133 posts, read 22,377,663 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
I would use the incident to teach your child tolerance and how to emotionally handle situations in which people are not respectful or exercise bad manners.
Good start. Very good chance to teach the child that there are people out there that do not have the slightest comprehension of respect and how to try and deal with it.

Quote:
Not everyone in the world is going to have good manners or is going to behave respectfully. Yes, it is infuriating--but do you really want to teach your child to "go after" people who are disrespectful or rude to him/her?
A little off the mark though here. Teach the child to "go after" the other person - No. Teach your child that you will stand up for them and try to rectify the situation using all means available - YES! YES! YES! There is a time and place for everything, and disrespect and belittling from a teacher in the classroom is NEVER one of those times or places. If the child cannot count on the most important adults in their life to stand up FOR them, when they cannot stand up for themselves due to situations that are totally out of their control, then what are you really teaching them. "No little Johnny, I believe you that Mr/Mrs bonehead is degrading and hurtful toward you and the rest of the class, but just smile and ignore him/her and it will be better when you are out of their classroom. No you can't count on me when the chips are down in your life." Not really the message I want to put across to my kids.

Quote:
I would certainly stress to your child that what the teacher is doing is not acceptable, and that you only hope that your child will remember how hurtful such behavior is to others and remember not to treat others with such a lack of respect. Furthermore, as a parent, you have done as much as you possibly can to reason with the teacher and the administration, providing an excellent example to your child of civilized and mature behavior; I wouldn't undermine that example by behaving in a vengeful manner.
Read the OP again. not ALL avenues HAVE been tried here. They said they have talked to the assistant Principal and wondering of they should talk to the Principal. Heck yes they should talk to the Principal, and the Superintendent. Have the Assistant Principal there when talking to their bosses and answer WHY the situation has not been addressed and allowed to continue. Calling adults to task for their actions towards children placed in their care is NOT being vengeful, it is being a parent and trying to provide the best you can for the child. NOT getting answers is taking the easy way out of the situation as the adult, and letting the Child deal with something they are NOT yet emotionally ready to deal with. That is not being mature and civilized; that is being small and uncaring.

Quote:
Lastly, my heartfelt sympathies to you as a parent. I know that it is agonizing to think of your child being treated in such a manner. But my advice is to rise above it, and not to give in to your feelings of anger and outrage. And if the situation is really that bad, I would try to enroll my child in a different school (although I would notify the principal, District, etc. as to your reason.)
Agreed that if the situation is that bad and the administration is NOT going to do anything, it is time to get the child OUT of that environment and into a school that is better suited to actually dealing with kids. Rising above a situation is NOT the same as ignoring it and willing it to go away. It is making the hard choices and meeting the situation face to face and dealing with it. If then it is apparent the present school is willing to do nothing, pull the child and enroll them in a different school system. At that point everyone involved will have no doubt as to WHY the child has been removed from their school.

ReneeMe: Good luck with this situation. I dealt with the same thing all year long with my 11 year old this year as well. It took weekly (sometimes daily) meetings with the Principal and/or his boss to stay on top of the situation. The Teacher in question had no doubt that a close eye was being kept on her, and her attitude and behavior in the classroom was markedly improved by the end of the year. Did my son know I was in the school as often as I was? No, he did not. Did he notice the change in his teacher toward the classroom in general and him in particular? Yes he did, and while he didn't end the year liking her as a teacher, they at least parted ways amicably. She even asked him if he wanted to take care of the 5th grade mascot this Summer over vacation. (He did, so now we have a god-awful ugly African clawed frog for the Summer) .

StarlaJane, please don't think I am attacking you personally. Your post was one that had all the elements I had to deal with and was the easiest to break down in to the points I wanted to make. You do have some great advice, but I also think you haven't had to deal directly with a situation like this yet in your child's/children's schooling yet. I held most of the same views you expressed as well, until I had to deal with a child that had to try and deal with this situation at school and literally made himself sick over going to school every day until he just couldn't deal with it on his own anymore, and confided in me what was really happening at school. Once he did that and knew I was going to deal with the Teacher and he didn't have to anymore, it was like night and day for him and his attitude toward school.

Last edited by Bydand; 06-14-2009 at 02:37 PM.. Reason: punctuation
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:28 PM
 
737 posts, read 1,849,585 times
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Hello StarlaJane,

Thank you for your advice and support!

I think you make great points and I will most likely go that route (although we will wait to see how next year goes before switching schools, the teacher's in the next grade level have a great reputation, and once we switch, we can not switch back).

I was thinking of going to the principal more as protecting those that come after us rather than going after the teacher, and I also wanted the administration to take me more seriously. However, I would feel badly if she was fired, and it is the end of the year, so looking at it as a learning experience is perfect (for me and my son.....if I am in this situation again, I will not be so patient and collaborative!!!!).

As a side note, I just talked to a parent who's child had this teacher 4 years ago, and apparently she was nice back then ("unless the kids really acted up"). Although I have heard negative things from others, if she has a basically good reputation, it may be why they are not taking me seriously now, and maybe she will be better again next year with an easier class, (or retired!!!). (and I still believe my son, his "stories" have been consistent all year and none of his teacher's, including this one, have ever called me about his behavior).

Anyway, thank you all! One more week of school and I should have my happy son back!
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:44 PM
 
737 posts, read 1,849,585 times
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Oops! I was writing my reply above and posted before I read the last few answers. Good points too!

I do think the principal would handle it differently that the assistant principal. My son was also experiencing bullying, and nothing got done until a five minute talk with the principal (by my husband, not me), and only then did the assistant principal do anything about it (the principal had not heard a word about the bullying until my husband told him).

To be honest, I have an hour worth of tape. The teacher let the kids talk for 55% of the hour (my son said the teacher is on the computer all day). She piped in with directions every 10 minutes or so. She did not give them specific work.

She called throwing papers for home in the trash "inapproriate and rude", she told them to get papers out of the bin "you don't need to interupt me every five minutes for paper do you class?" and she said “I don’t care if you are a goon, baboon, jerk, idiot, moron, clown, or anything else I can think of, do your work”. There is also a student saying about my son "does x even have half a brain".

The whole class is very loud, not working. The teacher was not teaching. There is nothing confidential on the tape. And, this is a one hour random sample of the class. My son did not even know about the recorder.

I am still confused. I think I have to figure out the laws. I would only show the principal, not looking for legal trouble for anybody. Any more thoughts? Thanks!!
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