Student Suspended for Improper Cell Phone Usage

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Student Suspended for Improper Cell Phone Usage

Students find different ways to record teachers during classes. | Photo by Rachel Guetta '13

Students find different ways to record teachers during classes. | Photo by Rachel Guetta '13

Students find different ways to record teachers during classes. | Photo by Rachel Guetta '13

Students find different ways to record teachers during classes. | Photo by Rachel Guetta '13

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Rachel Guetta
Copy Editor & Staff Writer

Students find different ways to record teachers during classes. | Photo by Rachel Guetta '13

Within the reach of almost every teenager, there is a tool that can cause unintentional harm—school suspensions and, according to Connecticut law, fines.
Cell phones: powerful tools for communication, and a way to get in a lot of trouble.
Recently, a Staples student was suspended after being caught recording a teacher in the middle of a student-teacher conference.

Assistant Principal Richard Franzis sent an e-mail to all staff members regarding the suspension. It states why the student was suspended and a brief explanation of what occurred. When asked, Franzis gave further details.
The student recorded a teacher during the conference with a cell phone. Eventually, the teacher realized and asked if a recording was taking place. The student admitted to it and from there, Franzis was notified and matters were put into his hands.
The e-mail also provides an excerpt from an article about the legalities of recordings from the Citizen Media Law Project.
According to that attached article, recording a teacher without his/her consent is against the law in Connecticut. “If you plan to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound), you should be aware that there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to do so,” the article said.
The article also mentioned that a person could be subject to fines. In order to avoid those consequences, one must obtain consent from all included parties before recording. These rules apply to 12 states, one of which is Connecticut.
The situation also violates school policy. It states on pg. 41 of the student handbook that in order to legally record a teacher, one must get the consent of the administration as well as that of the teacher.
According to Franzis, there was another case about five years ago involving a student who posted a classroom video on YouTube.