If you were a well-behaved student in school and ever got in trouble, then you know how stressful it is.
An 11-year old named Brianna Cooper now knows how that feels, as well.
This fifth-grade girl is a student at Fort Pierce Elementary School in Fort Pierce, Florida. One day, she heard a teacher bullying a student. The little girl knew that that kind of behavior wasn’t right and decided to do something about it in defense of the student the teacher was berating.
Therefore, she took out her phone and recorded the science teacher’s words.
What you can hear on the recording is disturbing. At one point, she says to a student:
“You’re the biggest kid in the fifth grade, and you acting like the smallest one.”
She even threatens him at one point. You can hear her saying to the student:
“Don’t let the size fool you. I will drop you.”
This behavior is obviously very inappropriate.
Brianna was concerned by what she had heard, so she decided to take the information and the video recording to another teacher in the school whom she trusted. She then showed this teacher the video.
When the video was released to school officials, the fifth-grade teacher was fired for behavior. Most agree that this was the best move, as the teacher clearly violated her role by verbally abusing the student in question.
However, Brianna and her mom were shocked that disciplinary action was taken again – this time against Brianna.
Brianna was suspended for five days due to her recording of the teacher since it is apparently against the law for a student to record a teacher without consent.
School officials claimed that it violated the teacher’s right to privacy within the classroom.
Brianna told reporters that she thought she had done the right thing by reporting the abuse to the school and that she didn’t expect to get in trouble for it. Since the teacher had been rude to students in class before, this time, Brianna wanted to prove it. She said that she had never been told that she wasn’t allowed to record conversations or behavior in the classroom.
Not only was Brianna suspended for school, but the time of her suspension was also while students were preparing for standardized tests.
Her absence could cost her valuable study time that she needs in order to do well on the test. By suspending her instead of letting her continue her studies, it seems like the school is sending a message that her education is less important than the privacy of a teacher who was using her platform as an authority figure to bully children.
Those who support Brianna and the measures she took to ensure that the teacher in question wasn’t able to continue to berate students say that the disciplinary action taken against her teaches students a bad lesson: that if you see something wrong, you should not speak up about it.
Brianna’s mother was clearly unhappy about the situation, telling reporters that as an 11-year-old, Brianna should not be expected to know and understand the law in a situation like this.
Hopefully, despite the girl’s punishment, Brianna’s actions will encourage other students to speak up if they see something unsettling in their own classrooms.
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