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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    16

    Default Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    My question involves education law in the State of: Washington

    My girlfriend is a middle school math teacher, grade 7 and 8. She's had a couple classes this year that have been horrible, conduct wise. Last week there was a student that accused her of swearing in class and reported it to the administration. She denies ever swearing in class and for good reason, she hates swearing in general and never does it around children.

    She was berated by the administration and was told they will investigate to find out the truth. Well, since then her class has become unruly and the some of the kids' conduct continues to be horrible. She has been in fear for months that these kids will destroy her career with false accusations (I have sat in on one of her classes and can attest these kids have no respect for her and misbehave just for the heck of it).

    This morning she decided to put a small digital video recorder in the back of the classroom to record their conduct in an effort to protect herself. During class a student noticed the camera and freaked out. The student ran off to the administration to alert them, who subsequently came to the class and confiscation the camera.

    My girlfriend has to meet with the administration after school and does not know what is going to happen. She is terrified of what is going to happen. I advised her to go talk to her union rep ASAP and find out what protection she has. We don't know what the legal ramifications will be.

    Is it legal for a teacher to record her class if there is no intent to make the recordings public and are for her and the schools review of class conduct?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    22,354

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    Washington state law requires that an individual have the consent of ALL parties before taping.

    But even if that were not the case, or if it turns out that it doesn't apply because the students were children, it would still be up to the school whether to allow the taping or not. Even when it does not violate a state law, the employer can still refuse to allow taping in the workplace, and discipline your friend for doing it without permission/not getting permission first.

    And that's not even addressing the state law issue.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    Ok. As far as I know, she did not make the students or the school aware she would be recording them. I don't she was thinking clearly since she has been so frustrated with the class.

    She was notified a month ago that she will be layed-off at the end of the school year. The principle has been very vindictive towards her and feels as if the principle has been out to get her all year. She is deathly afraid of this ruining her teaching career.

    Would it be wise to consult with a local attorney in case the school decides to pursue anything beyond in-house discipline?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    22,354

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    I think she should wait and see what action the school takes before she runs up attorney fees over something that may never happen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    It looks like the school may turn her lay-off into a termination. The school has also confiscated her notebook that she has used to document all her altercations with students and administrators. She is worried what they will do with it and leave her with no record of anything she documented.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,684

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    Oh I do wish she would have thought, first!

    My #1's son's school just fired a teacher for that exact same thing (except this involved 1st grade), in Whatcom County. The teacher was also denied UI.

    If she's fired for cause, this could seriously damage her career - perhaps for good.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    In the state of tennessee we are recording our classes on video. We were asked to video tape our classes in an effort to improve classroom management and teaching practices. Very sorry about the discipline. I know exactly how she feels.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Can a Teacher Video Record Their Class

    Here is an update:

    The school/district has decided not to terminate her since it is the end of the year and her contract had already not been renewed. She was able to get all her things from the classroom yesterday except her notebook. That was never returned. The video camera was returned but all recordings had been deleted.

    She met with the union today and they said she should have never been put on admin leave and they will have all the letters in her file about this incident removed. The union also said she should of come to them sooner since the school didn’t have enough justification to not renew her contract. She didn’t because the principle told her she had no rights and could not contact the union to file any grievances since she was a first year teacher in the district (she has been teaching for 6 years prior). Yet another issue the union is going to take up with the school on her behalf.

    All in all, I think she will be fine since the school realized she had more incriminating evidence against them then they did on her. And to top it off, it looks like the principle is going to get sacked because all the grievances filed against her in the last few months.

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