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  1. #1
    aldeanwife is offline Junior Member
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    Can a student legally record a teacher in class?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Ohio

    Recently I was informed that a student has been recording classes in our school in the hopes to file a harassment claim with the U.S. Department of Education. There is no harassment occuring in my school but this still concerns me and I am looking for some answers.
    I work in a charter school therefore I have no union representation. I would just like to know if this would be admissible in a court case or if it is even legal. THank you.
  2. #2
    antrc170 is offline Member
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    On the face, it is not illegal in Ohio to tape record a conversation (or lecture) if the person taping is a party to that oral communication. However, it does become illegal when the taping is done with the sole intent to commit a criminal act, tortious intent or other injurious act. So, if you can show that the student intends to use the recordings for anything other than his own use for study, it does become illegal. To do that you'd need email, witness statements, etc.

    2933.52 Interception of wire, oral or electronic communications.

    (4) A person who is not a law enforcement officer and who intercepts a wire, oral, or electronic communication, if the person is a party to the communication or if one of the parties to the communication has given the person prior consent to the interception, and if the communication is not intercepted for the purpose of committing a criminal offense or tortious act in violation of the laws or Constitution of the United States or this state or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act;
  3. #3
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Send him to the office.

    There is no reason why, as a teacher you cannot preclude the student from taping.
  4. #4
    aldeanwife is offline Junior Member
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    I wish

    I wish I could send him to the office. This happened last year and the students did file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and the investigators determined that the complaint was unfounded but they did mention in the report that they listened to the recording.

    I am concerned because no matter the findings the students can still seek legal action towards the teachers involved. I have considered seeking legal action against the students anyways. They made my life hell over the summer and instead of relaxing and enjoying my time off, I was concerned about having a job in August.

    What legal actions can I take? I am interested in pursuing actions. I am also a little confused as to why the U.S. Department of Education even listened to these recordings. I found out because the students told another student they were recording us and that student told me. They also told other students they were going to get a couple teachers fired. I did not know for sure until today that they were recording me but in the report sent to us by the U.S. Department of Education they did confirm that they listened to voice recordings of two teachers in particular.

    Thanks for your replies.
  5. #5
    antrc170 is offline Member
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    You can't really take any legal action against the child as there doesn't appear to be any illegal action occurring or that you have substantial proof of anyway.

    I suggest that you disallow taping in the classroom and cite that it creates a disturbance. Really, as long as you aren't harassing the students you should be just fine.

    If the students file a complaint after you have banned taping the classroom, then you would probably have enough evidence based on prior complaints that the student was acting illegally via a tortious intent by taping. You may have a civil case against the school and student if you are terminated.
  6. #6
    Humusluvr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldeanwife View Post
    I wish I could send him to the office. This happened last year and the students did file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and the investigators determined that the complaint was unfounded but they did mention in the report that they listened to the recording.

    I am concerned because no matter the findings the students can still seek legal action towards the teachers involved. I have considered seeking legal action against the students anyways. They made my life hell over the summer and instead of relaxing and enjoying my time off, I was concerned about having a job in August.

    What legal actions can I take? I am interested in pursuing actions. I am also a little confused as to why the U.S. Department of Education even listened to these recordings. I found out because the students told another student they were recording us and that student told me. They also told other students they were going to get a couple teachers fired. I did not know for sure until today that they were recording me but in the report sent to us by the U.S. Department of Education they did confirm that they listened to voice recordings of two teachers in particular.

    Thanks for your replies.
    [url=http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/ohio/ohio-recording-law]Ohio Recording Law | Citizen Media Law Project[/url]

    Ohio Wiretapping Law

    Ohio's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law. Ohio law makes it a crime to intercept or record any "wire, oral, or electronic communication" unless one party to the conversation consents. Ohio Rev. Code 2933.52. Thus, if you operate in Ohio, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance. That said, if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties.

    Additionally, consent is not required for oral communications (e.g., in-person conversations) where the speakers does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the communication. See Ohio Rev. Code 2933.51. This means that you are free to record a conversation happening between two people in a public place such as a street or a restaurant, so long as you are not using sensitive recording equipment to pick up what you otherwise would not hear.

    In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the Ohio wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.

    Consult the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Can We Tape?: Ohio for more information on Ohio wiretapping law.
    In your syllabus, that you should have all students and parents sign and return, make it expressly against the rules to record classes. Cite FERPA, which would give each student the rights to privacy in their education. Put in your syllabus, "No student may record the class in any fashion unless they have written permission from the teacher and the recording device is visible to everyone in the classroom." You should encourage EVERY teacher in your school to have this policy.

    If the student is recording class, he is violating every other student's right to privacy. He could record a private meeting between you and him, but not other students who have no knowledge of the recordings.

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