Charges Dropped Against Mother Who Had Child Record Students For Bullying

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Virginia prosecutors dropped charges Wednesday against a mother who put an audio recorder in her daughter’s backpack to monitor whether the child was being bullied.

Prosecutors had charged Sarah Sims with the felony of interception, disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications, as well as abetting a minor’s delinquency, reported The Washington Post.

Thomas Shattuck — a Virginia Beach, Va., investigator — surmised that Sims’ daughter’s teacher or another Ocean View Elementary School administrator discovered the recorder resting on the daughter’s desk. Possessing the recorder violated the school’s policy, Shattuck acknowledged, but did not believe Sims deserved a felony charge.

Virginia is one of 38 states with one-party consent laws regarding the recording of conversations.

“Our concern is that [administrators] heard the recording and called the city attorney’s office,” said the investigator. “If it was just a blank recording, why call the city attorney’s office? We’re very curious with what’s in the recording.”

Shattuck was also displeased with an interview conducted by Norfolk police on Sims’ daughter without the mother’s knowledge.

“Nine years old is awfully young for a detective to question a child without the mother’s consent, especially if the mother is the target of the investigation,” Shattuck told The Washington Post. “You’re essentially asking the daughter to testify against her mother.”

“After reviewing the facts and circumstances,” the Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney decided against prosecuting Sims.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the Norfolk Commonwealth attorney for comment, but received none in time for press.

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