Mother faces felony charge after using recorder to thwart school - WNEM TV 5

Mother faces felony charge after using recorder to thwart school bullies

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The mother of a Virginia student is facing charges after she put a recorder in her daughter's backpack. She says her child was being bullied, but authorities say she broke the law.

"There's nothing fair about this,” said Sarah Sims, the mother charged in the incident.

When Sims’ nine-year-old daughter told her she was being bullied at school, Sims tried to get her help. She called and emailed the administrators at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia.

No one answered, but she kept trying.

"If I’m not getting an answer from you, what am I left to do,” Sims said.

Determined to get proof that the bullying was happening, Sims took matters into her own hands. She sent her daughter to school with a digital audio recorder in her backpack.

In the classroom, it was constantly running at her daughter's desk recording the school day.

School officials found out about it, confiscated the device and called police, who questioned the nine-year-old.

"I was mortified,” Sims said.

Sims said the school never called her.

One month later, the mother learned she was in trouble with the law.

"The next think I know I’m a felon. I've got felony charges and a misdemeanor when I'm trying to look out for my kid. What do you do?” Sims asked.

Sims now has a rap sheet, complete with a mug shot. She’s charged with intercepting "any wire, electronic or oral communication," which is a felony and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor. Sims could spend five-years in prison.

"This is ridiculous, they're reaching. And my thing is why? Why are you working so hard to vilify me instead of addressing the issue of why this even exists? The most important part is what's going on in the classroom,” she said.

It's been months, but Sims said school officials have yet to return her calls and emails.

In the meantime, her daughter still attends Ocean View Elementary in a different class.

CNN reached out to the school district, and also the Norfolk Police Department, which would not comment beyond confirming the charges. 

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