What is the name of your state?Texas
I am a middle school Spanish teacher. I have from time to time tape-recorded my students.
Last Thursday, a student entered my classroom during 7th period class and stole a micro-cassette from my desk. The entire class witnessed this incident. I speculate that the principal was involved in this. She knew I had tape-recorded her reprimanding me because I had my students write a get-well letter to a fellow co-worker. The principal had harrassed this teacher so severely that the teacher became ill with panic attacks and too scared to return to work.
Anyway, I reported the incident to her promptly. The next morning I was called into her office. Sitting in the office were the school counselor and the assistant principal. Also, to my surprise, she had invited one of my students and the student's father. This student was not involved in this incident and neither was the parent.
She proceeded to reprimand me severely in front of everyone in her office.
She said she had recovered the tape and that she would not return it to me. She then said, "You are hereby directed to hand over all of your tapes." I told her that I didn't have any other tapes. She then began to wave the micro-cassette tape around in the air for all to see. She then told me it was illegal to tape-record minors.
I replied to her that I was unaware that it was illegal. She told me the tape was her proof that I was breaking the law.
She also accused me of being unethical and unprofessional because I had my students write the get-well letter to my fellow co-worker. My principal said it was against the code of ethics to have students write about any co-worker and very unprofessional.
Then she said she believes that students have been writing in my grade book and demanded that I hand it over to her. This I couldn't do at the time because my grade book was at my house. She told me I had to go home to get it and bring it back to her.
After this she said she was submitting the accusations to the central office. Also she told me to "be advised that there are a number of accusations against you, many of which I had not read to you." She wouldn't tell me what they were.
Lastly, she said that depending on what the central office decides, she will go from there and and contact the district attorney.
I asked her if she was implying that she was filing a civil lawsuit against me. She replied that based on what the central office decides, that was exactly what she planned on doing.
I am devastated. I have not returned to work since she dismissed me on Friday to bring her my grade book. I have called and told them I am having a severe panic which is causing a severe asthma attack. My doctor has prescibed anti-anxiety medication to help me deal with this.
Is it true that it is illegal to tape-record students? My previous principal at another school said we should tape-record students to show progress in student growth.
What is my recourse?