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Old 04-14-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
metaschima
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Record bullies at school, get felony wiretapping charge


More great news about the US (Pennsylvania) school and legal system:
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...ping-law.shtml
Quote:
Here comes another story highlighting the danger of schools "outsourcing" their disciplinary problems to law enforcement. As we've stated before, this does nothing more than turn routine misconduct into criminal behavior, which is a great way to derail a student's future.

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school's attention, which duly responded by calling the cops… to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania's wiretapping law.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 04:13 PM   #2
sundialsvcs
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In far too many cases now, we've embarked upon "a war on ..." everything. Suddenly, everything is a crime, and no one has any responsibility for making a personal judgment-call that might potentially subject them to criticism. We simply kick it upstairs to the legal system, who throws the "offender" in jail, following "mandatory sentencing guidelines," and throws away the key - forever.

The teacher isn't responsible ... the principal must do it. Who calls the police. Who calls the district attorney. Who calls the judge. Who makes sure, one way or the other, that this "threat" to the "normalcy" of our eroding middle-class lives is "dealt with." And, no one at all is responsible.

Face it: those officials were afraid of someone "bullying" someone else, and especially afraid of that person speaking-up. They were far more afraid of "touching the human rights of" the bully, than of trampling on the person who – by the act of speaking up – "created a problem" for them. Yes, send an underage kid to prison as a felon for the act of using a tape-recorder. Just get him out of the way of the bully, lest that bully be "left behind" and, you know, mess-up the test results for the school. "Restore normalcy."

Forty years ago, this would have been dealt with far differently. The bullies would have been suspended from school, at the sole discretion of the principal, or expelled, perhaps with the nod from the school board. If the bullies were kicked out of school, they would have actually had to repeat the grade. And there would have been no question at all that the teacher, the principal, and the school had the authority to do this. "The law" would not have become involved, because no laws would have been violated, yet.

It was, at that time, a much more "tough love." You were responsible for your own actions, and there was no second- and third-guessing of the teacher's fairly sovereign authority over his/her own classroom. You feared punishment and reprisal because you knew that it would come swiftly. But, in this way, you also were being prepared for the realities of life in an actual human culture.

Today, we have a fairly remarkable number of 18-year olds who are finding themselves in prison, having done things for which they would have miraculously been excused up to that time. They'd been coddled all the way through school, quickly learning that "everything in life is A, B, C, or D" and that "'rules' actually don't apply to Me." Then, they cross that magical age-boundary that they'd never been taught to anticipate, and ... wham. Suddenly, their actions do have consequences.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 04-14-2014 at 04:18 PM.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 06:38 PM   #3
jlinkels
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Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
you also were being prepared for the realities of life in an actual human culture.
I understand what you say, and you are right. The complete system is derailed and has completely gone out of any sanity.

However, this case also demonstrate the realities of life in 2014.

jlinkels
 
Old 04-14-2014, 08:37 PM   #4
johnsfine
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Forty years ago, this would have been dealt with far differently. The bullies would have been suspended from school, at the sole discretion of the principal, or expelled, perhaps
I guess I went to the wrong school 40+ years ago. Every day at recess, the bullies beat me up. The teachers watched it through the window and never set foot outside.

On one occasion in fifth grade I came in from recess bleeding a lot more than usual and was scolded by the teacher for bleeding and sent to the principle's office. He berated me for causing all that trouble by not having the sense to stay away from the bullies at recess. Recess was in an enclosed space presenting no possibility of escape from from the bullies. But the morons running public schools cared no more about the students then than they do now.

Two of my sons each dealt with it a lot better than I did. They hit back effectively enough to hurt the bully almost as much as the bully hurt them. The school, of course, punished them far worse for hitting back than they punished the bullies for hitting first. But the bullies moved on to weaker victims. As with me, the school told my sons they needed to avoid the bullies. You can't accomplish anything by tattling and you aren't permitted to defend yourself. Only run away from bullies. That is the liberal rule, to be forced upon our students and is the Obama foreign policy.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
metaschima
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Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
I guess I went to the wrong school 40+ years ago. Every day at recess, the bullies beat me up. The teachers watched it through the window and never set foot outside.

On one occasion in fifth grade I came in from recess bleeding a lot more than usual and was scolded by the teacher for bleeding and sent to the principle's office. He berated me for causing all that trouble by not having the sense to stay away from the bullies at recess. Recess was in an enclosed space presenting no possibility of escape from from the bullies. But the morons running public schools cared no more about the students then than they do now.

Two of my sons each dealt with it a lot better than I did. They hit back effectively enough to hurt the bully almost as much as the bully hurt them. The school, of course, punished them far worse for hitting back than they punished the bullies for hitting first. But the bullies moved on to weaker victims. As with me, the school told my sons they needed to avoid the bullies. You can't accomplish anything by tattling and you aren't permitted to defend yourself. Only run away from bullies. That is the liberal rule, to be forced upon our students and is the Obama foreign policy.
Same here. My brother was better at dealing with bullies, but he still got punched in the arm once by a massive bully and rocks were thrown at him. I was only beaten, no rocks involved. Of course I ran, fought back as best I could, etc. The only time I was almost punished in school was for bringing a transparent whiskey flask full of WATER to school. Since it wasn't actually whiskey, they couldn't do anything.

I got back at them a few times when they broke stuff and when the teacher came, I ratted them out in a non-conspicuous way, let's just say I could have been a ventriloquist.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 09:25 PM   #6
frankbell
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Teachers and school administrators these days live in fear. They get blamed and punished for things outside their control, because everyone wants an easy answer to improving education that doesn't involve actually investing money in improving education.

Fearful persons do stupid things.

I visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's website frequently, because they have some fine writers. I'll keep an eye out to see if this story gets legs in the local press.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 09:27 PM   #7
johnsfine
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The wiretapping laws that prohibit secretly taping what is said to your face are an abomination kept in place by government and law enforcement officials who know that their own abuses of authority depend on that protection.

I have fortunately had very few interactions with police and never over anything very serious. Once (after my wife's parked car was wrecked by a hit and run driver) the police were professional, polite and competent. In every other interaction (such as when I was a victim of a petty crime or a victim of a police traffic scam) the police were abusive, dishonest, lazy and corrupt. In any of those cases, a recording of what the police said to me would have been massively embarrassing for the police force and probably sufficient for criminal charges against the officer.

It should be legal to secretly record anything said to your face. I have no fear of anyone recording anything I say to them. I have no occasion to say anything that would get me in trouble if the person I said it to recorded it. That is in contrast to third part secret recordings. I wouldn't get in trouble if there were recordings of ALL my phone calls. But I would be terribly upset at the loss of privacy. That same privacy concern makes no sense when you apply it to something said to your face, especially by someone acting under color of authority.

You can't tape a criminal making a threat against you. You can't tape a government official abusing his authority. These laws serve no legitimate purpose and just serve the liberal purpose of making ordinary citizens more helpless relative to both both criminals and the government.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 09:32 PM   #8
frankbell
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It's not wise to generalize about laws regarding recording conversations because they vary from state to state in the United States (and, likely, from country to country elsewhere).

I don't know the law in Pennsylvania. In Delaware, it's legal to record a conversation if one of the parties to it is aware of the recording. In some states, both parties must know; that's why that 800-number you called announces that "This conversation may be recorded . . . ."

I learned this in the course of some legal difficulties which led me to start recording conversations with a difficult person when I lived in Delaware.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 09:39 PM   #9
johnsfine
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Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
everyone wants an easy answer to improving education that doesn't involve actually investing money in improving education.
There are "easy" answers if you could get past the power of the unions. If better education were a goal, it would be easy to achieve.

Throwing money at the problem is proven not to work. Within this country there is inverse correlation between expenditures per student and quality of education. Across countries, the USA spends overwhelmingly more per pupil than any other country to get mediocre and declining results.

It is the same as the foreign aid we give (through the UN) to feed the starving people in North Korea. Those getting the extra money know that they only get it because the problem is so bad. So they know that letting any of the money go toward reducing the problem is a sure path to getting less money. So money sent to North Korea to feed the starving people never gets used for that and in fact provides the government with incentive to keep people starving. Money sent to schools to improve education is diverted to other purposes, so that the ineffective education remains as a problem demanding more money.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 09:47 PM   #10
johnsfine
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It's not wise to generalize about laws regarding recording conversations because they vary from state to state
I generalized more about what those laws should be than about what they are. I know they vary from state to state and I assume they are very different in other countries.

In those jurisdictions where the rules are different for government officials in the performance of their duties, I think those differences are backwards. The victim of an abuse of governmental authority should have more right to secretly record what is said to him, compared to an ordinary situation of only one party knowing a conversation is recorded. But in some jurisdictions were only one party normally needs to know about a recording, the exception for government officials in the performance of their duties goes the evil way and prohibits their victim secretly recording them.
 
Old 04-14-2014, 10:41 PM   #11
frankbell
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Don't blame unions.

I worked as management in a union environment for many years.

Unions are a creation of management. If management treated employees as decent human beings, there would be no unions.

That really is all you need to know about the history of the labor movement.

Last edited by frankbell; 04-14-2014 at 10:47 PM.
 
Old 04-15-2014, 06:40 AM   #12
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That really is all you need to know about the history of the labor movement.
I think what I know about that and what you think you know are too far apart for constructive dialog beyond noting that we aren't convinced by each other's positions.
 
Old 04-15-2014, 10:47 AM   #13
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I think this is a good example of why anonymity is needed. Clearly, some states have laws that are not for the public good. In such situations it should be possible to upload the recording anonymously online. Perhaps nobody will be punished based upon the recording, but at least people will get to see it and decide to change the law.
 
Old 04-15-2014, 10:48 AM   #14
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Accountability is important. In the past it was a lot simpler as teachers had pretty much free rein and were allowed to set many of their own rules - here in the UK this led to good quality education for the few, while the majority had to suffer sub standard state schools. 20 years ago, schools could just ignore problems, tolerate racism, bullying etc and not face any consequences at all.

If the current state of affairs is idiotic at times, it's still vastly better than the "good old days"...
 
Old 04-15-2014, 11:37 AM   #15
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Two of my sons each dealt with it a lot better than I did. They hit back effectively enough to hurt the bully almost as much as the bully hurt them. The school, of course, punished them far worse for hitting back than they punished the bullies for hitting first. But the bullies moved on to weaker victims. As with me, the school told my sons they needed to avoid the bullies. You can't accomplish anything by tattling and you aren't permitted to defend yourself.
I was occasionally bullied, and my experience is the same. Telling the teachers just makes it worse because you get no respect (in fact you get less respect than you had before) and no one is afraid of you.

When I was very young, there were some older kids who were giving me and a few others a hard time. I have always been a grade A student but they were troublesome. One day I made up a lie about something that they had done, as revenge. I don't remember what it was now because I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, but it was my word against theirs, and everyone believed me. They got in a lot of trouble for it, even though they truthfully kept insisting that they had nothing to do with it. I saw them a few times after but they never talked to me again.

When I was 13 I had been bullied by mainly one other guy in my class for many years. I started terrorizing his family with anonymous calls from phone booths for months and, after a summer break, threatened to beat him to death with a chain. His parents called the police over the phone harassment, but they couldn't prove it was me. He was genuinely afraid of me afterwards.

I email-bombed another one with 500-1000 emails per day for some weeks, but they traced it to me (I did it from home) and my parents banned me from using the internet. My father printed out a paper about netiquette and made me hang it on my wall. Years later I found out that he was a troubled kid with problems at home -- and I guess that's why they do it, so it's really sad and doesn't serve them right when you think about it.

The wiretapping charge is stupid, but that's what you can expect from the kind of society we live in. Good people are punished and bad people get away with it. The purpose of laws is to punish bad people who badger honest people. The police should say "thank you" for the recording.
 
  


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