Story Archive

Zero Tolerance for Student Action

Brianna Cooper, 11, was so upset at witnessing a teacher berate another student at Samuel Gaines Academy in Ft. Pierce, Fla., she set her phone to record the tirade. “Don’t let size fool you. I will drop you,” the unnamed science teacher told the other student. “You don’t know me, that’s all I’m saying. So, don’t give me no look.” Brianna considered it bullying, and says she had heard the teacher do it before. She made the recording because “Do you think that they would actually believe a student over a teacher?” When she turned the recording over to school officials, principal Traci Wilke took strong, decisive action: she accused Brianna of making an “illegal” recording. “I thought I did the right thing,” the girl said, “but I guess I just got suspended.” Indeed so: for five days. But police say that such a recording is not illegal when there’s no expectation of privacy, and Brianna’s mother said the message school officials are sending is, “if you think something is wrong, don’t try and do anything about it.” The day after the story hit the media, the school announced it “took swift, appropriate action” by firing the teacher for her “unprofessional behavior.” (RC/WPTV West Palm Beach) ...The real message school officials are sending: if you expect them to do the right thing, you have to take your story to the media.
Days later, Brianna’s mother says the girl’s suspension had been “lifted.” It’s unclear how long she was out of school, or whether the punishment was deleted from the girl’s permanent record.
Original Publication Date: 26 April 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

Is There a Problem on This Page? Let Me Know using the Help button lower right, and thanks.

I believe humanity is held back by the lack of thinking. I provoke thought with examples of what happens when we don’t think, and when we do. This is True is my primary method: stories like this come out every week by email, and basic subscriptions are free. Click here for a subscribe form.

Previous: Dell Hell

Search for: