In Illinois there is a student that is being charged with a felony because he had the audacity to record a conversation that he was having with his principal for the duration of about ten minutes. It is against the law to record someone without their consent, but let us look at the situation for a moment. First of all he is thirteen. That is a pretty respectable age to know what is right and what is wrong, but honestly I did not even think it was wrong and I’m way beyond that age group. I do not know the child’s intent, but he now faces jail time, being sent to a juvenile institute, or paying upward to $25,000 in fines. That is a lot for a teenager to have to handle.
This is where mercy needs to step in and handle justice appropriately. He surely at that age does not have a full handling and understanding of the law and he should be sat down and explained in full detail the potential risk and danger of recording someone without their permission. There can be a minor punishment affixed to this, but something as outrageous as jail time is inconceivable. What I would like to know is what the principal was speaking to the child about. We do not have all the facts at the moment, for they have not all been issued to the public, but what does a principal have to fear when speaking to a child. Surely there was nothing said that he would not want to go public.
That brings me to my next point. If there is an adult that is alone with a child, even if there were two adults alone with a child, the child should have the right to record that conversation. Where the child went wrong was that he did it in secrecy without consent. I for one do not blame the child for doing this. Think about how many cases in the past could have been resolved or handled better had there been a recorded conversation or video. There are too many tales and accounts of abuse of various natures that involve children for this not to be an essential thing.
All in all the child, according to the law was wrong, but let’s take it back a step and not throw the book at him. This is a teaching opportunity and a lesson that surely he will take with him the rest of his days. There needs to be a greater advocacy for this and surely it should be the case that the principal would want the charge dropped. I could not imagine a principle not pulling for that and being so vindictive and authoritative that they would not want to soften the blow. Children are at risk because of the adults that surround them and it is important that children are not left alone with them, no matter who they are. There needs to be supervision and there needs to be a tool in place to advocate for the child’s safety. That could perhaps avoid future threatening cases of abuse and scandal.