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Mazie
 
 
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Mazie
 
 
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Tape recorded without my knowledge
Old 02-09-2006, 01:24 AM
 
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First of all let me say that I am very upset so I hope this all comes out all right. It is 3:30 am and I still cannot sleep. I teach CDS and have had a rough year to say the least. I stepped into a mine field. I really have a couple sets of parents that have made my year hell. I do take comfort in knowing that it is not me, but that they have treated everyone like this. The sad thing is noone has done anything to stop them and the administration is afraid to deal with them and does not support myself or other staff.

I am in my first year of teaching and today (actually yesterday) I found a tiny tape recorded hiden in the lining of a students backpack. This particular student is Autistic and nonverbal. I felt very violated.

Not only might they have recorded something I said but any other staff member in the building. It is not uncommon for some staff members to stand out in the hallway and conduct private conversations with other adults regarding personal information or confidential info of other students. And they may have recorded these conversations for who knows how long! I dont feel as if I said anything I should be ashamed of, but I feel it is so wrong.

Anyway I team teaching because the numbers are too high and not going to go down anytime soon. The other teacher, who has been with the district for 3 years, was not at school so I called her at home and told her what I found. (I was really upset). She said to just ignore it. I couldn't.

I took it out of the backpack and took it down to my school principal, who while acted appalled, was very upset with me for removing it. He has set up a meeting the the parents expecting me to apologize. The director of special ed is also in agreement with him. They have told me not to discuss this with any other staff member and not to let the aids know...the recorder is going back in.

Please advise!!!

Needless to say I will not be signing my contract, however I just need to get thru this school year. I'm even questioning as to whether or not I want to stay in education. The whole year has just been leading up to this episode...this is the worst thing that has happened this year.

Thanks,

Mazie


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TRELLIS
 
 
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Your Concerns
Old 02-11-2006, 09:47 AM
 
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Mazie
It is customary for the administration to side w/parents..that's because admin is afraid of parents..afraid of getting sued. But teachers have rights, too. If you said nothing self-incriminating, then the tapes are
meaningless, though clearly a violation of your rights. You can do one
of 2 things...contact your local teachers' union rep and request a union
attorney be at the meeting with you and the parents...or....suddenly
become extremely ill, have your private doctor put it in writing that
you are extremely ill, submit it to the school...and take a well-earned
vacation...and watch the s...t fly when admin has to get coverage for
your class 'cause they don't have you to kick around, and then every single covering/sub teacher gets the same treatment you did..and in
time admin will see that the problem is NOT the teacher..it's the school's
a..kissing approach to parents. Their problem, not yours.
I've been there.
These days, when I say "jump", they ask "How high?"
(I didn't go to the union...I got "extremely ill"...)

Best of luck!
TRELLIS
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Tounces Tounces is offline
 
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taped
Old 02-11-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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Good thing you found it. I can see why you're upset. I don't know why your principal was upset that you removed it, I would not apologize. I would let the other teachers know. It's like they are the ones who want to spy on you too. Since you're not signing your contract anyway, I would remove it. Does the principal think it would be ok for him to be recorded in his office? This does seem to be illegal to me. Especially with privacy issues in special ed. I would think you are the one who could press charges. Definately seek the advise from your union. The other teacher is ok with this? Something sounds fishy to me. Sorry that you are having such a tough first year. The school district you're in sounds nuts. I'd try a different one next year if you can. Anything is better than this. Use up your sick days and whatver else you can do while in the midst of this hostile environment.
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On being recorded
Old 02-11-2006, 05:23 PM
 
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I'm angry along with you. I'm sorry your year has been awful. Let's put your feeling of violation aside for a moment, and focus on something not discussed yet. The confidentiality of every child with an IEP who came within recording distance of that tape recorder was breached. Aren't your principals worried about being sued by the OTHER parents of the special needs students in your classroom? Those students were being recorded, too. Details about their particular sets of circumstances were being caught on tape--accommodations, health problems, toileting needs, etc. If this gets out to the right sort of parent, all hell may break loose in a different direction from that your principals seem to be concerned with. Don't apologize for bringing the discovery of that tape recorder to your principals' attention. You are doing your job by working to ensure the confidentiality of every student in your care. The principals should be thanking you. You may have just saved their jobs.

Document everything that happened. Keep a log on everything that happens from now on. You never know when you might need those notes in court. Document, document, document!!!
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I agree
Old 02-13-2006, 11:38 AM
 
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I agree with finding a Union Rep...FAST and having a union rep at any meeting reguarding this issue in the future. I also agree with the documentation. Write dates, comments, and action down. What you did, what you were told to do etc. so that your bottom is covered.

I have to admit that I would have reacted EXACTLY the same way you did had it been me.

Good Luck!


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documment
Old 02-21-2006, 01:11 AM
 
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it is really improtant that when you document it is in a spiral bound notebook not just lined paper in a 3 ringed binder.... from what I have heard only a spiral notebook that has all its pages will be allowd to be read/ submitted in court... in the future keep a spiral for each school year.. and keep your spirals for consecutive years if you are woring in the same school system... and if you should leave turn in your spiral to the director of Special Ed.
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