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Voice Recorders in the Classroom

Original post made by Ellen, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2008

I think all classrooms should have a recording device that we can be reviewed if a student reports unprofessional conduct in the classroom. It would also benefit teachers when there's a dispute regarding a classroom incident. We should be able to hear what is said in the classrooms.
A few teachers speak in a derogatory manner towards the children, then deny it.
Some teachers frequently yell at students, which is wrong and unprofessional. Some teachers shame students. I personally heard a Kindergarten teacher ask her students, when they were confused about what to do, "Did you all leave your brains home this morning?"
If you don't have proof, if only the children are witnesses, the teacher denies what they said or did, and in my experience, the principal sides with the teacher.
Our children are vulnerable, there needs to be some way of knowing what's going on in the classroom, or I should say, proving what goes on in the classroom.
To all you wonderful teachers who are offended, it's not about you. (It would be great if wonderful teachers were more personally secure.)
I'd like to ask any students reading this if there ever was an incident in the classroom that they wish they could have proved took place.

Comments (15)

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jul 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm

While it may be acceptable to some, the ACLU/Teacher's Union would have a field day with your suggestion......

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 24, 2008 at 8:08 pm

What a horrible idea.

But while we are at it, let's make them video cameras. Not only should the teacher be viewed and recorded, but all of the Johnny's and Susie's too. Therefore all behaviors in the classroom can be duly recorded and viewed and discussed and considered.

The door swings both ways.

Posted by ambulance torresw
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Do you have a full deck? President Bush might like your idea but I think that you have a problem.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:24 pm

After many years of our children reporting a teacher who spent the class hours viewing personal websites during class hours (there was no abuse of students suggested). Many parents were told by the administrator that it was a good teacher ( this teacher was very involved in the union). This PUSD teacher was caught viewing VERY inappropriate sites and he is finally gone.
We are long overdue for videos in every classroom for both teacher and student protection. Most preschools and buses have cameras, it makes sense.

If I was a good teacher I would want video for my protection.

Posted by Ellen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I'm filmed in the mall, at gas stations, stores....I guess material goods need to be protected because they have monetary value, but not children.

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 25, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Ahh... only voice recorders for the teachers? But no video cameras to record the kids also in the classroom?

Both are horrible ideas, but it is interesting how people are selective in their thinking. And seem willing to go along with these ideas.

Posted by Ellen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Frank, I was thinking of the expense. I figured the least expensive option would just be audio. Of course, if money were no object, the ideal would be audio-visual.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 6:58 pm


I clearly stated both audio/video for the benefit of both students and teachers.

I don't know how much PUSD paid out for the molestation lawsuit against the teacher at Fairlands ten years ago, but I'll bet it was more than what it would cost to put a camera in every classroom in the district.

I wonder if that teacher wishes he had a camera in his classroom since he has maintained his innocence.

Posted by ambulance torres
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 25, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Is this an extension of the Patriot Act? Snoops are on the rampage; calm down and get the help that you obviously need.

Posted by Nix On
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Audio recordings didn't help Nixon...

Posted by Wondering...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2008 at 5:44 am

when someone would bring up the "snoops" angle.

Too many concerns about Big Brother watching. While I agree with some, I disagree with other. But here in Pleasanton, recording in classrooms will NEVER happen.

Besides, our children are angels and our teachers perfect.

Posted by Wondering...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2008 at 5:45 am

Besides -- any kid can record a teacher rant with a cell phone. Let's do that -- cheaper. And then post it on YouTube!

Posted by I can't believe it
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 11:46 am

Then when we catch the teachers, let's send them to "work camps." It will be our "final solution" for all bad teachers. Then lets put a system together where kids who ever get yelled at by their parents can report them to a special service who will send a special police force to take those "offending" parents away in the dark of night...never to be seen again.

Seriously folks, is it coming to this. I am here to tell you that if you have a valid concern, and you take it to an administrator, they will be more than happy to address the situation. I know...many of you have conspiracy theories about how the administrators and teachers sit around and plot against our kids, but it just doesn't happen. People are too willing to believe that the minority of bad behavior is the norm in our schools. It's not true.

Posted by I can't believe it
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 11:48 am

Oh, you might want to check on the laws regarding secretly videoing or recording a teacher in the classroom...I believe its against the law in the state of California. I believe that you can be sued, especially if its posted on the internet.

Posted by I can't believe it
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 11:58 am

PBS article citing the California Education Code:

This, in turn, generated another response by elementary school teacher John Lindner, who noted that such actions by k-12 students, in California at least, might constitute breaking the law. Replying specifically to the incident that almost occurred in Nancy’s daughter’s classroom, John stated, “In some areas, this could result in the suspension of the students involved.” Specifically, he cited two sections of the California Education Code:

48901.5. (a) The governing board of each school district, or its designee, may regulate the possession or use of any electronic signaling device that operates through the transmission or receipt of radio waves, including, but not limited to, paging and signaling equipment, by pupils of the school district while the pupils are on campus, while attending school-sponsored activities, or while under the supervision and control of school district employees.

51512. The Legislature finds that the use by any person, including a pupil, of any electronic listening or recording device in any classroom of the elementary and secondary schools without the prior consent of the teacher and the principal of the school given to promote an educational purpose disrupts and impairs the teaching process and discipline in the elementary and secondary schools, and such use is prohibited. Any person, other than a pupil, who willfully violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any pupil violating this section shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. This section shall not be construed as affecting the powers, rights, and liabilities arising from the use of electronic listening or recording devices as provided for by any other provision of law.

The first section summarizes the rights of school districts to regulate the classroom use of telecommunications devices in the possession of students. This legal code, and similar pieces of state law around the country, are used to frame the rules surrounding cell phones in school, but also extends to any other device that sends or receives a signal, from PDAs to wireless laptops. The second section, though, is perhaps more interesting, because it details unacceptable use of certain electronic devices - specifically, any kind of device that can be used to record something in the classroom. This might include a digital audio recorder, camera phone, video camera, laptop, PDA - pretty much any thing that includes a lens or a microphone. The language adopted into law takes the position that any use of these recording devices that don’t receive explicit permission of both the teacher and the principal are inherently disruptive of the teaching process. Students who thus use a recording device without official blessing could find themselves suspended.

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