Mom Arrested After Putting Recorder In Daughter’s Backpack To Prove Bullying

November 28, 2017
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When Sarah Sims’ daughter said that she was the victim of bullying in elementary school, Sims decided to take action into her own hands.

Sims contacted the administrators at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia, where her daughter is in fourth grade – but the Mom says she got no response. In September, Sims decided to investigate alone.

Then, Sims decided to investigate alone.

The Mom put a digital audio recorder in her daughter’s backpack, hoping to get some evidence. School officials found out and confiscated the device, which had been in her daughter’s desk recording the school day.

Now, Sims, who studied at Virginia’s Norfolk State University, is in trouble with law.

Earlier this month, Norfolk police charged Sims with a felony — intercepting wire, electronic or oral communications — and with a misdemeanor — contributing to the delinquency of a minor

“I’m a full-time student, so I don’t always get the opportunity to be on the premises, and I thought that this would be a good way for me to learn the environment,” Sims, 47, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday.

She might go to jail for five years if convicted on the felony charge.

“I was appalled when I heard these charges,” Sims’ attorney Kristin Paulding said. “I was shocked to see that the school would decide to go to the police department and ultimately charge this mother as opposed to sitting her down and having just a simple conversation about what were her concerns and how could the school alleviate those concerns.”

Paulding said the recording device “was a way to make sure that that classroom was a safe place” for the child. Because it was confiscated, Paulding said she doesn’t know what — if anything — the recorder caught.

CNN contacted the Norfolk police on Monday for information but they refused to comment on the case. Even the justification was not released by the police.

Virginia is a one-party consent state, meaning it is legal for someone to record others when the person recording is involved in the conversation or when one of the parties in the conversation has given prior consent.

The spokeswoman of the Norfolk commonwealth’s attorney’s office, Amanda Howie, said that they just received the case report so nothing was investigated as yet and they would take the charges further.

Norfolk Public Schools referred questions to Norfolk police.

“We are unable to comment on any pending legal matters,” school district spokeswoman Khalilah LeGrand said in an email.

Sims said she doesn’t know why the school called the police and not her when the incident happened last month. Her child was bullied so many times before, Sims said.

In third grade, her daughter “had been kicked in her stomach and hit with a jump rope on the playground,” Sims said, adding that the school didn’t notify her then.

She became very anxious about attending,”

I removed her from the school because she was refusing to go. She felt like she wasn’t protected.”

Sims said her daughter had tried to get over it when faced with bullying again, this school year.

“I did not want to just side with my child. I wanted it to be fair,” Sims said.

When her daughter complained, Sims tried to encourage her at first. “I felt like I kind of let her down a little bit because I wasn’t believing her,” Sims said.

Sims’ daughter still goes to school but she is moved to another class.

A court date is set for January 18.

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