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13-Year-Old Charged with Felony for Recording Conversation with School Principal

"If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined."

PhonePeter Cripps / DreamstimeA 13-year-old hauled into the principal's office for not serving his detention may end up with the biggest detention of all: a felony conviction. That's because the kid recorded the conversation on his phone.

The incident took place last February at Manteno Middle School, which is about an hour outside of Chicago. Young Paul Boron was arguing with Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short.

About ten minutes into the meeting, which was held with the door open, Boron told the men he was recording it. At that point, the principal told Boron he was committing a felony and ended the conversation. But then, according to the Illinois Policy Institute:

Two months later, in April, Boron was charged with one count of eavesdropping – a class 4 felony in Illinois.

"If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined," said Boron, who lives with his mother and four siblings..."I think they're going too far."

.... Members of the Manteno Community Unit School District No. 5 board, Conrad and Short have not responded to requests for comment on the incident.

Unfortunately for Boron, there is a law against recording people without their consent in Illinois. There's even a rule against it in the student handbook. But the handbook also says that it is fine for the school to have video cameras monitoring the public areas of the building. In other words, it's fine to keep the kids under constant surveillance, just not the administrators.

Illinois law is tough on citizens who "eavesdrop." For example, the Policy Center reports, "Michael Allison was charged with a felony for recording his own court hearing after the court did not provide a court reporter"—a case crazy enough to bring Orwell storming back from the grave.

At one point, the state's law saying all parties who are being recorded must consent was struck down. But a new eavesdropping law popped right back up with a carve-out for citizens recording police encounters.

All of which means Boron's middle school misbehavior could end up on his permanent record. Sometimes the law is neglectful of liberty, and no friend to tech savy 13-year-olds. It would be a terrible tragedy if Boron was forced into the criminal justice system for such a silly infraction.

Correction: The Illinois Policy Institute was initially mis-identified in this post.

Photo Credit: Peter Cripps / Dreamstime

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  • Cy||

    Why does anyone still live in that state?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    More like "The land that left Lincoln".

  • rocks||

    The Illinois supreme court struck down the eavesdropping law in 2014.

    https://tinyurl.com/yacgbwfj

    What was this kid charged with if that law is no longer in effect?

  • rocks||

    No comment? The law was already overturned by the courts and that doesn't seem to be an issue?

  • ||

    The kid was charged with violating the eavesdropping law. IIRC, as soon as the state supreme court struck down the old law, the legislature passed a new law that was copied & pasted from the old law, with just enough edits to make it look slightly different. The new law has not been challenged in court, yet.

  • markm23||

    It's a law that has the main effect of protecting liars, fraudsters, and other criminals. Of course the Illinois legislature can't stand being without it.

  • darkwingdave||

    From the article..
    "At one point, the state's law saying all parties who are being recorded must consent was struck down. But a new eavesdropping law popped right back up with a carve-out for citizens recording police encounters."
    If he had been recording LEOs, that would be covered. He wasn't so they nailed him.

  • khm001||

    And why does anyone still want politically controlled schools?

  • gah87||

    It doesn't matter. The State can remain solvent far longer than you can remain alive.

  • Longtobefree||

    News market. buttons that say "this area under audio surveillance".
    Better idea. Mandatory recording and publication of all official acts by public employees.
    Best idea. End public employee staffed schools.

  • Cyto||

    That doesn't really solve the problem. Making schools "not public" doesn't change the difficulties this kid was having with an administrator. If he's recording the conversation, that means he doesn't trust the administrator. That can happen anywhere.

    But I like the "this area under audio surveillance" button. The summary says Illinois requires consent of all parties. I wonder if notification implies consent. I suppose it does in the case of the school's video surveillance, which would be 3rd party eavesdropping...

  • John||

    Exactly. The problem here is the two party consent laws. This could have been a private school and the same situation would have arisen.

  • sarcasmic||

    Same situation perhaps, but I doubt the people at the private school would have pushed it nearly this far. After all, they answer to the parents. Parents of children at a private school can pull their kids if they decide the administrators are total assholes. Not so with public schools.

  • John||

    You would be surprised. The other thing is that in this day and age where a single accusation by a kid that you tried to touch them will end your career and likely ruin your life if I were a principal or a teacher I would want every conversation with a kid recorded. It just shows how stupid and arrogant these guys were not to see that.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The other thing is that in this day and age where a single accusation by a kid that you tried to touch them will end your career and likely ruin your life if I were a principal or a teacher I would want every conversation with a kid recorded.

    This. Really the kid did himself a disservice by recording it. If he hadn't, he could claimed the principal and vice principal took turns on him, now he can't do that.

    It just shows how stupid and arrogant these guys were not to see that.

    If they weren't stupid and arrogant they wouldn't be public school administrators.

  • Malvolio||

    If you don't trust an administrator, you can leave a private school.

  • John||

    True. But that doesn't make this sort of conduct any less objectionable.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    > I wonder if notification implies consent.

    Offer + Acceptance = Contract.

    If you order from the menu, you agree to pay for the meal.

    So, helz yeah.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    No.

    That's like putting up a sign our your lawn saying "tresspassers will be boiled in oil". Make good on the implied consent there, and law enforcement will be paying you a visit.

    If you argue that a public employee has no expectation of privacy on the job, then you've got (IMO) a valid case.

  • Ricardo Vacilon||

    "That's like putting up a sign our your lawn saying 'tresspassers will be boiled in oil'."

    Not like that because being boiled in oil is disproportional to trespassing.
    In a truly libertarian justice system, there would be no right to privacy per se, only the right to enforce or not enforce privacy on one's own property. Privacy on others' property would be a gift.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    The argument is whether or not notification implies consent, not whether or not proportionality implies consent.

  • ||

    In some states, notification does invoke consent. For example, Washington state is an all-parties state -- not just one or two, but everyone in the conversation must consent to recording. But if someone makes the other parties aware that a recording will be made, continuing to talk is automatic consent.

    Just visibly placing a digital recorder on a table in view of all parties would suffice in Washington state.

    The problem is though, that the notification must happen before the recording in some way -- ten minutes into the recording means the recording is illegal.

  • Paloma||

    But how else can we solve the trespassing issue unless we boil them in oil? If they don't want to be boiled in oil, don't trespass!

  • khm001||

    "Making schools "not public" doesn't change the difficulties this kid was having with an administrator."

    Bullshit. If a business tried to pull this shit and ruin a 13 year old's life, people would be screaming from the roof tops about the injustice, but it's okay when government employees do it.

  • MoreFreedom||

    "End public employee staffed schools."

    Why not just separate school and state. Church and state are separated, partly because we don't want the government forcing church indoctrination and policy upon us. Thus the Constitution says government can "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". But government indoctrination of students is essentially the same thing, but without religion, or you might say the religion of government.

    Government employee staffed schools really wouldn't be much different than the way it is now if the government controls and funds the schools. Government would still be controlling teachers in the classroom, and providing their legal protection as their employer. You really couldn't sue the teacher or administrator, as they are acting on behalf of the government.

  • Cyto||

    Yeah, I've been on about this before. This form of "eavesdropping" is complete nonsense. Spying on a conversation that you are not a party to is eavesdropping. Recording a conversation you are a part of is just a more advanced form of note taking.

    The only possible justification for this sort of law is that people want to protect the right to lie about what was said and get away with it.

    To underscore how ridiculous this is, I'll note that you can write down a transcript of the conversation and the legal system will treat this with great weight as a contemporaneous recording of the events. And you could take that transcript and have voice actors portray the script just as you recall it having occurred.... all just fine. That performance could be recorded and presented on the evening news. Again, just perfectly fine.

    But having an actually accurate recording of what was said is not fine.

    I'll say it again, the only justification for this sort of law is that people want to preserve their ability to lie about what was said in a conversation. I'm not sure how that is a function of state government.

    These people have lost their minds.

  • John||

    I do not see how someone can claim a right to privacy in information they are consensually sharing with another person. If you bug my office and record a conversation I have with a third party, I have not consented to share the information and your recording it is an invasion of my privacy. But your recording of our conversation is totally different. Your recording it is no different than remembering it. I have shared the information with you. How you choose to memorialize it, is your choice, not mine.

    It is really that simple. Moreover, the only reason I would have to object to your recording our conversation is because it prevents me from later lying about what was actually said. All these laws do is make it easier for people to lie.

  • sarcasmic||

    These people have lost their minds.

    I don't think so. I think it is exactly what you said. These people know fully well that they lie about most everything. That's what people in government authority do. They lie about the rules, they lie about the facts, they lie about the circumstances, they lie about the consequences, and just about everything else. Because that is what it means to wield power. Recording them would catch them in their abuse of power, and they know this. So they create rules to protect themselves.

    Power is an end, not a means. The purpose of power is to keep and increase power.

    So protecting liars with power is indeed a function of government. Twofold. It protects people with power while giving them even more power.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Chicago is a mob town and much of the place still hangs under the corruption of every facet of government and citizen life.

    The eavesdropping laws protect corrupt politicians.

    If you're a party to the conversation, and this kid clearly was, it should not be illegal to record it.

  • BYODB||

    ...and this is why I live in a one-party consent state. Well, ok, that's not the reason but is it one of many.

  • Cranedoc||

    So recording a lecture is illegal in Illinois? That's interesting because I went to college there and many people did that. I guess it's only illegal if some political points need to be scored...

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Crucify him!

  • Citizen X||

    The law is the law. All Troo Librutarians support throwing the book at this kid, because he broke the law.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Incredible that the State would turn recording a conversation, a completely non-aggressive action, without victims, into a ***felony***.

    Can you say... DETERRENT?

    The Keebler Elf would certainly approve.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Don't you believe in the rule of law, brah?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    The worst Cher song ever.

  • Cy||

    "The law is the law. All Troo Librutarians support throwing the book at this kid, because he broke the law."

    The law is illegal per the constitution of the US. Your clear lack of Illinois history and US history isn't our fault. You should really pick up reading as a hobby.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The law is illegal per the constitution of the US.

    Can you elaborate?

  • Citizen X||

    Your clear lack of a well-calibrated sarcasmometer isn't my fault, either.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maybe we should ALL readjust our gauges?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If the law is constitutional, then yea, the Rule of Law should prevail.

    Don't like it, repeal the law.

    Its much funnier to make fun of the Rule of Law after some spoiled brat refuses to follow the rules that I am sure his parents never fought to repeal.

  • sarcasmic||

    Don't like it, repeal the law.

    According to you, the last time a law was repealed was 1933.

    Seems like if you don't like a law you've got to suck it up and deal. Because government is a one-way ratchet. Laws only increase. They never go away.

  • sarcasmic||

    increase accumulate

  • losmazeman||

    multiply

  • Ricardo Vacilon||

    metastasize

  • loveconstitution1789||

    YOU can look up other more recent laws. They do go away.

    I cited a repeal of the ban on alcohol and the repeal of Net Neutrality. Both laws.

    You just don't like to do work to get rid of bad laws. Complaining is much easier.

    Freedom isn't free.

  • sarcasmic||

    Net neutrality was not a law in the traditional sense of being written by the legislative and signed by the executive. It was executive diktat. Republics pass laws through the legislative process. Dictators unilaterally create laws with a microphone. You can claim net neutrality was law until you are blue in the face, but I will never agree.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Net neutrality was not a law in the traditional sense of being written by the legislative and signed by the executive. It was executive diktat.

    This. Congress never passed a law giving the FCC authority to regulate the internet, they just decided one day that they could, because FYTW.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You already admitted it was a law.

    "Net neutrality was not a law in the traditional sense of being written by the legislative and signed by the executive." Its a nontraditional law according to you.

    I actually don't care whether you accept the various types of 'law'. It just further alienates your nonsense from being listened to. Which really needs to happen.

    Read a law book someday. You will read about lions and tigers and laws, oh my!

  • sarcasmic||

    It just further alienates your nonsense from being listened to.

    Just because something doesn't agree with your close-minded worship of authority doesn't mean it is nonsense.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    What you say is nonsense sometimes. Your thing on 'Law' is only legislative, is just one example.

    I read it. It fits your anarchy lifestyle.

    Under a Libertarian or Classic Liberal government, there are few laws because government is super limited. Government is also small so government takes longer to grow.

    You either have Rule of Law, Rule of Man, or anarchy.

    The trick is to push government to make sure Rule of Law is based on very limited laws and rules that government has created.

  • sarcasmic||

    Dude, I can see that you didn't follow my link. I knew you wouldn't. If you did you might learn something. But you don't need to learn anything or see anything from another point of view. What you know and your point of view is all that matters.

    You are the definition of obtuse.

  • sarcasmic||

    Here is something you won't read, written by a guy with two PHDs, one in economics and the other in law.

    You won't read it because it won't confirm your view, and you must keep your mind closed to anything that questions your worship of authority.

    But others may benefit from the distinction between legislation and law.

    You won't. Because you know everything and have nothing to learn.

  • Juice||

    If the law is constitutional, then yea, the Rule of Law should prevail.

    Why? Is the constitution perfect or something?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its the foundation of our system, so its as good as we got.

    It even has a method for keeping bad laws off the books and getting rid of bad laws if they are no longer wanted.

  • sarcasmic||

    and getting rid of bad laws if they are no longer wanted

    Too bad it is rarely used. Legislators view themselves as law makers. They add to the pile. They tighten the ratchet. Getting rid of laws is bad form. It violates professional courtesy. Why, if they start repealing laws written by others, others might repeal laws written by them! That will not do!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Freedom isn't free nor easy.

  • sarcasmic||

    When was the last time you successfully lobbied to get legislation repealed?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Its the foundation of our system, so its as good as we got.

    It represents the outcome after advocates of liberty lost to advocates of big government. When libertarians celebrate the constitution, then we're celebrating failure. The United States is not free and never has been.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    The law is an ass.

    There's a reason for that saying.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    --- Sometimes the law is neglectful of liberty ---

    YOU DON'T SAY!

    BUT THIS IS A NATION OF LAWZ! OF LAWZ, I TELL YOU!

    Putting kids in cages is what some (ok, it's what Trumpistas) love. It's their porn. They should be happy with Illinois.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    What do you want, anarchy?

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    I know you're being sarcastic but in all seriousness, many who consider the state (the Tonys) or the Big Orange Man In The Sky (Trumpistas) as Gawd propose that false dichotomy: either totalitarian state, or anarchy.

    Read the comments from the resident Trumpistas and you will notice this. The Marxians and the Trumpistas are fellow travelers, aa hostile to liberty and markets as the Communists of old.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony once said that the only reason why parents take care of their children is because the government says that they must.

    I truly believe it's because those who support a totalitarian state would go out and start killing people if it wasn't against the law. They have no morals and no conscience. They're sociopaths. And they assume everyone else has a broken brain like them.

  • Citizen X||

    Tony projects so hard that he's visible from orbit.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Tony once said that the only reason why parents take care of their children is because the government says that they must.

    To be fair, he probably thinks that because his mom most likely reminds him daily that she never really wanted him and would have left him in the woods to fend for himself if she wasn't worried about getting arrested.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    The reality is that all kids are assholes. Yours and mine. Live with an asshole long enough and the law doesn't matter anymore. That I love my child is the only reason he is still here to call me the asshole.

  • Cy||

    Dragging kids out every other post to try to further your anarchy narrative, to justify your obvious love for beans, is proof that you're just as hollow as most proggies snorting the social welfare lines.

    IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN YOU FUCKING RACIST!

    Yeah... that'l change things. Just not the way you want.

  • John||

    There needs to be a federal law affirming the right of any member of the public to record their interactions with any public official or employee when acting in their official capacity with or without the official's consent. The ability to record your interactions with the government is part and parcel to your due process rights. That is a federally guaranteed right and Congress has the authority and duty to ensure the states respect it.

  • Alcibiades||

    There needs to be a federal law affirming the right of any member of the public to record their interactions with any public official or employee when acting in their official capacity with or without the official's consent. The ability to record your interactions with the government is part and parcel to your due process rights. That is a federally guaranteed right and Congress has the authority and duty to ensure the states respect it.

    Such a law already exists.
    You have a right to record public officials when acting in their official capacity in public settings where there is no expectation of privacy.

  • John||

    Then this kid has one hell of a 1983 lawsuit against the school and the police and everyone involved here.

  • Alcibiades||

    Maybe not, the key phrase here is "public setting", where there is no expectation of privacy.

    I'm pretty sure the the Principal's office would not be classed as a public setting.

  • DatCrazyMongoose||

    The key word here is "consent." Illinois law requires it, even when recording public officials in the course of their public duties. The only exception is for police, which the article clearly articulates. I'm not saying it's right, because it's not. I'm just saying at least read the whole article.

  • Alcibiades||

    The Illinois Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Illinois two-party consent law. People v. Clark, 2014 IL 115776 (March 20, 2014).

  • D-Pizzle||

    There's a reason why, when describing the facts of this case, it was noted that the door was open. This negates any expectation of privacy since the door makes it rather easy for someone to listen in on the conversation. In order to invoke an expectation of privacy, one must take reasonable steps to ensure that privacy. Closing a door is pretty easy.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Exactly. That inclusion was not random.

  • Davy C||

    In fact, the article says it was "in the reception area of the school secretary's office, with the door open to the hallway." I'm picturing that, and that's not at all a private conversation. Even if two school officials having a official-business conversation with a student can ever have an "expectation of privacy", they didn't have one here.

    The conversation was also characterized as "arguing", which implies they weren't exactly being quiet, either.

  • Texasmotiv||

    Don't want to go to prison like a thug, don't record your middle school principal like a thug.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Thug_Life.mp4

  • sharmota4zeb||

    A thug doesn't record his middle school principle. A thug complains to his friend about the conversation knowing that the friend will take the unspoken hint and key the principle's car a few days latter. Duh.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    A thug complains to his friend about the conversation knowing that the friend will take the unspoken hint and key the principle's car a few days latter.

    Nah, a thug doesn't rely on other people to get revenge on his behalf. A true thug will take of that himself.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It would be a terrible tragedy if Boron was forced into the criminal justice system for such a silly infraction.

    Speaking of our border policy, how do people here feel about an open border policy at our schools? Would anyone support a system of coyotes to smuggle kids out of tyrannical schools and into the freedom of the open woods? Granted, age is a factor. What if we just freed high school seniors and sent them off to the French Foreign Legion.

  • Cy||

    Are they brown or brownish? Do they get to pick the woods? Nobody wants to set up shop in Zion when you can just go to Yellowstone!

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I know it's none of my business but I am curious as to what necessitated an hour long conversation with both principal and assistant principal. I'd hazard a guess that it was about complete nonsense.

  • John||

    I think that is a pretty good guess. Moreover, what kind of conversation between two principals and a student could possibly necessitate an hour other than one where the principals were trying to bully the student into agreeing to something improper?

  • sarcasmic||

    That's about it. Show me an principal or an assistant principal, and I'll show you someone who gets a kick out of hurting children.

  • Ariki||

    Use of incorrect pronouns.
    What else would it be in this day and age?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Mistake #1: Never alert people that you are recording them.
    Mistake #2: Demand a speedy jury trial and represent yourself pro se. Tell the jury what happened in a narrative and inform them that the school records kids via camera. Let the jury resolve it in your favor.

  • sarcasmic||

    Except that jury selection will filter out anyone with a brain, and the judge will instruct the jury to follow the law, not their conscience.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You're probably right. Sucks the best system in the world for checking government power and assessing guilt has come to that.

    The 'eavesdropping' law is unconstitutional anyways as he was a party to the conversation. He should appeal the charge immediately as being an unconstitutional statute.

  • sarcasmic||

    The constitution doesn't matter. Bring it up and you'll be written off as a nutter. After all, it's just an old piece of parchment from a bygone era written by white slavers who never could have imagined modern life. It simply doesn't apply anymore.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There's the nutter sarcasm that has been missing.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm just telling you that if you go around waving the constitution, people will write you off. The general consensus is that the constitution is a bad thing. It limits government. Most people don't want limited government, because to them government has godlike powers that can fix anything. It is the solution to all of our problems. The healthy skepticism of power that was once the hallmark of American society is pushing daisies. Liberty is on its death bed, and will soon follow.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Only you. You don't like the Constitution anyway.

    People who say what you say about the Constitution (1) don't really read the Constitution (2) don't like the Constitution (3) don't understand what dismissing it as the foundation of US law means for America.

    You don't want to adjust Rule of Law to make it less oppressive because government is too big. You want it to all fail. Anarchists want no government and that is one way to get anarchy.

    You are an example of why "The healthy skepticism of power that was once the hallmark of American society is pushing daisies. Liberty is on its death bed, and will soon follow." You want it to die as most people are too busy in their lives to care, schools dont really teach fundamentals of US government well anymore, and lefties and anarchists are actively undermining the Constitution every day.

  • sarcasmic||

    I never said I agree with that consensus. Read my name.

  • sarcasmic||

    You can read peoples' minds but you can't read peoples' words.

  • sarcasmic||

    Law is emergent. Government can codify laws of society in legislation, but it doesn't create law.

    If all legislation against murder were to be repealed, murder would still be against the law. Why? Because it goes against the rules of society.

    When legislation goes against the rules of society, it is not law. It is diktat.

    You cannot see the difference. To you legislation and law are the same. Law comes from authority. If legislation conflicts with the rules of society, well then the rules of society are wrong. Because the law is the law is the law. To you government has godlike powers to create the rules that society lives by.

    That's not rule of law. Rule of law is when government creates legislation to enforce the laws of society.

    When government, when man, imposes its will upon society through legislation that conflicts with the laws of society, you have rule of man. Not rule of law.

    You claim to support rule of law. But you don't. You support rule of man.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Only you. You don't like the Constitution anyway.

    People who say what you say about the Constitution (1) don't really read the Constitution (2) don't like the Constitution (3) don't understand what dismissing it as the foundation of US law means for America.

    How's that whole constitution thing working out for you, anyway? The United States is the most bloated, most expensive government in the history of the Planet Earth. The constitution is a pretty effective constraint, huh?

  • D-Pizzle||

    Adjusting for size, either by population or by GDP, the governments of Western Europe and Japan are much larger than that of the U.S. It is not coincidental that these nations' constitutions do not have the limiting provisions that exist in the U.S Constitution.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Why would you adjust for population, and why especially would you adjust for GDP?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Tell the jury what happened in a narrative and inform them that the school records kids via camera. Let the jury resolve it in your favor.

    That's an awful lot trust to place in mouth breathing morons who weren't even smart enough to get out of jury duty.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's Illinois. Of course your masters don't want their conversations on tape.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    At one point, the state's law saying all parties who are being recorded must consent was struck down. But a new eavesdropping law popped right back up with a carve-out for citizens recording police encounters.

    I wonder if the case can be made that representatives of the state government (the principal in this case) count in that carve-out? If not, the law should be revised again.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    If not, the law should be revised repealed again.

    And this time, permanently.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    About ten minutes into the meeting, which was held with the door open, Boron told the men he was recording it. At that point, the principal told Boron he was committing a felony and ended the conversation.

    I wonder if having the door open makes the office a public space? Maybe the kid's lawyer could argue that the open door makes it a public conversation since anyone could have walked in and/or overheard the conversation. Anyone know if there's a legal precedent for that sort of argument? I know that in general there's no expectation of privacy in public, but I'm not sure if that extends to being recorded in public. Some states allow recording without consent if you're in a public space, some don't. This being Illinois, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

  • D-Pizzle||

    It doesn't make it a public space per se, but it does negate any expectation of privacy that the parties, especially the principal since he controls the door, may have been able to claim. Generally speaking, under the law, one must take reasonable, affirmative steps to maintain one's privacy, and leaving the door open where anyone can come and listen in on the conversation does not qualify.

  • Ron||

    wish I could have recorded my teachers and principals when i was a kid everyone of them were idiots.

  • hokey||

    Where is the father in all of this?

    While I agree that charging the kid with a felony is too far I also wonder what kind of history the kid has. What was the kid in detention for? Has he had repeated offenses? It seems a little bloviated saying his 'whole life would be ruined.' I get the sense that the kid stirs the pot alot. If there is no father and/or boundaries set at home, how is the school expected to handle that as well as be responsible for other students?

    While the gist of this article is all about blowing up the surveillance state and letting kids be kids (coming from a free range parent), it would've been nice to see both sides. And no, it should not be against the law to be an a-hole, but I would at least like to understand how previous cases have been handled.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This kid was separated from his parent but we will definitely NOT get 100 articles written about this type of separation.

  • Erezeneb||

    IANAL, especially in Illinois, but it seems to me that consenting to recording (for the school's system) would qualify as consenting to recording by other parties as well.

    /Not leaving my one-party-consent state, unless it's for another one.

  • D-Pizzle||

    It doesn't qualify, but it should.

  • Pat001||

    Sounds like a typical school administrator thing. A second grader kisses a girl and he's charged with sexual assault. A 13 year old girl with menstrual cramps brings a Midol pill to school and is charged with drug dealing. I think a great reality show would be "stupid things school administrators do" but it would be difficult keeping the show to under one hour each week because there would be so much material.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    I am not normally a fan of the "if you have nothing to hide ..." offensive, but I'm willing to make an exception in this instance.

    Mr. Principal, what exactly did you tell the student that you don't want to make public?

    Also, WTH is the student named, but not the principal?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    You wouldn't want to release the name of a victim of such a heinous crime!!

    Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "...crazy enough to bring Orwell storming back from the grave."

    That would make an excellent byline for this site.

  • Number 2||

    I believe we were recently discussing something about the psychological harm caused by separating children from their parents, and about the unspeakable horror of ripping children from their parents and putting them in cages just to show we were serious about enforcing the law.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    If this is a public school, then I fail to see the difference between a policeman and the principal. Both are public servants paid by the public purse to perform a public function. There is a Constitutional right to have their discharge of those duties recorded.

  • khm001||

    Thank God, we have politically controlled schools, so poor kids won't get left behind.

  • crufus||

    "About ten minutes into the meeting, which was held with the door open, Boron told the men he was recording it."

    I guess he learned his lesson about telling them he was recording the conversation.

    Also, do they have any actual proof he recorded the conversation? Couldn't he just deny he made a recording and that he only said it to make them stop the meeting? Is there a law against falsely claiming to have made a recording?

  • Davy C||

    You really think they didn't seize his phone?

  • ||

    Does the school have a warrant signed by a judge to have its security cameras recording the students? No? Then the school administration have, collectively, committed as many felonies as there have been unconsenting people in the school times all the days they have been present.

    The government exemption to voyeurism and eavesdropping laws turns on the possession of a valid warrant, after all.

  • Davy C||

    The cameras probably don't record audio, and voyeurism laws probably don't apply unless one of the cameras has an angle into a bathroom or locker room.

  • Justice Johnson||

    Per Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5 Art. 14(d)
    (d) Private conversation.
    For the purposes of this Article, "private conversation" means any oral communication between 2 or more persons, whether in person or transmitted between the parties by wire or other means, when one or more of the parties intended the communication to be of a private nature under circumstances reasonably justifying that expectation. A reasonable expectation shall include any expectation recognized by law, including, but not limited to, an expectation derived from a privilege, immunity, or right established by common law, Supreme Court rule, or the Illinois or United States Constitution.

    Can you really tell me how this principal had the expectation of privacy? What "reasonable justification" would the principal have to be saying something which was private to a 13 year-old?

    It's a public school and a principal acting within an official capacity has ZERO expectation of privacy. Adding insult to injury, the "door was open".

  • Echospinner||

    Privacy is gone. Anything you do or say can be used against you. This is most applicable in the work environment. Never say or do anything which you would regret in court.

    This is true even in what were considered protected communications such as attorney-client, medical, or spouse.

  • Kagemusha||

    Part 1/2
    Not commenting on the eavesdropping law itself here, plenty of others have done that already.

    This kid's major mistake was getting cocky, and shooting his mouth off that he was recording. He should have kept his trap shut. You can usually only catch people saying incriminating stuff if they do NOT know they're on candid camera.

    The article mentions he was refusing to serve his detention (what he did to get detention, we don't know). If he's just a smart-ass punk, who thought he'd make the principal crap himself and let the kid go with the magical words, "I'm recording this", then maybe the kid needs some corrective action. This ain't a murder rap, assuming he's convicted, this will be in his sealed juvenile record when he turns 16. They'll probably plea him down to some misdemeanor. They will NOT be trying him as an adult for this.

    The following all assumes that the kid was being screwed over by the principal, and the principal did something wrong.

    Let the principal/bureaucrat do whatever they're going to. Then let them get themselves into a situation where they make some statement under oath or another circumstance where that statement is in writing and they would be in hot water for lying.

  • Kagemusha||

    Now you have two options:
    1 - If you want the problem to just "go away", confront the principal in private and play the recording for him. Will the principal risk the consequences of being busted for lying under oath, on official forms, etc? Probably not. Yeah, it's blackmail, but it works.

    2 - Release the recording to the press. This is a little riskier, but if the principal doesn't have the power to make the problem just "go away", it may be necessary. Yes, revealing the recording possibly opens you up to the very same charge of "eavesdropping". But, will a prosecutor go after a 13 year old that was being railroaded by the system already? The potential public backlash over that would likely serve as a deterrent to prosecution over the recording.

    If you're going to play this game, you've got to be smart about it. This kid wasn't.

  • Paloma||

    Well he IS 13.

    But maybe he should've called Saul.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    So, assuming that the principal did nothing excessively wrong here that could be revealed through the tapes, your contention is that detention for (most assuredly) some trivial matter should ultimately be penalized by criminal action?

    He was CORRECT to record the interaction (perhaps all disciplinary actions should be recorded anyway as a matter of policy!). His mistake was being truthful about what he was doing. And for being truthful, he'll get his.

  • Ben of Houston||

    I will dispute that he was correct to record the interaction. There are explicit rules and laws about subtle recording for many reasons, and it is up to the legislature to make those decisions.

    However, I will state that the punishment is excessive to the point of insanity. If he had been given a second detention or even in school suspension, we wouldn't be talking about this at all. There would be nothing to report. However, he was charged with a felony for something that no rational person would think would result in jail time. That's the reason we are so upset.

  • gphx||

    The whole spiel about 'sealed juvenile records' and 'expungement' is a lie.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Juvenile offenses are showing up in the National Instant Check System (NICS) used for gun purchase background checks and other purposes. The Fed Govt encourages and rewards states for adding records to the database. Old records of investigations or arrests lacking final disposition go into the system. I mean decades old. That has included an investigation where the subject was cleared, and an arrest that was mistaken identity. I warn people to get and maintain copies showing disposition of any such cases they are involved, because if you don't have proof of exoneration, the system may not have kept disposition of the case in their files.

  • JoeThePimpernel||

    The only logical purpose of laws preventing recording of your own conversations it to prevent the gathering of evidence against government employees and officials.

    They can record you, but you can't record them.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Check this out you will love it.....................https://irs.gov

    Ew filling out that form 433-A makes me feel so dirty ...yeah baby...

  • gphx||

    Used to be people who made trouble for kids like this got taken behind the barn. Not sure where they went from there but the pigs seemed pretty happy about it.

  • Left Libertarian||

    You can only secretly record ppl when the state ask you to. If you aint helping the state build a case then forget about recording anyone without their consent.

  • DJF||

    So this government official is threatening a child with jail and ripping her from her family!!!

    Where is CNN!!!!

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Busy reporting on FLOTUS' jacket or something.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    What a load of @#$!#!%#@@##)&. Federal state and local officialdom in this country is beyond stupid.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Imagine the kid went into the principals office and asked to talk to him. And once the principal agree, he brings out his phone and states he's recording the conversation. If the principal objects, then he's got it on the record that a principal isn't willing to talk to a kid on the record.

    That's a tip I read (perhaps from Alan Dershowitz on TV or in a article) whereby the FBI wanted to interview someone. The lawyer setup a meeting in his office with the FBI and the person, and took out his recorded and then told the FBI they were free to interview, but they objected. Their normal procedure being to interview with 2 FBI agents and then the record of the meeting was written up by the FBI on what are know as 302 forms. Then the lawyer informed the FBI that he had it on the record that his client was willing to cooperate, but the FBI wasn't. LOL

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    If the principal objects, then he's got it on the record that a principal isn't willing to talk to a kid on the record.

    Prove it. There's no record. "I didn't object, he could have recorded if he wanted!"

  • Naaman Brown||

    FBI FD-302 written by the FBI agent from interview notes.

    There have been several high profile cases where both defense and prosecution witnesses disputed what the FD-302 of their FBI interview said.

    In reading up on the 1992 Ruby Ridge affair, I found US Marshal Dave Hunt thought the FD-302 process was clumsy and lead to disputes (that's what the agent wrote but that's not what I said). Hunt could not under stand why the FBI didn't just use a tape recorder, rather than using the J Edgar Hoover-era1930's FBI method of jotting notes on paper in the interview, then writing up and typing an FD-302 back in the office.

    On discovery ask for a copy of the folder of interview notes.

  • coper||

    The eavesdropping law is obviously ridiculous, but why can't the author distinguish between audio recordings and CCTV recordings? She makes it sound like the school is doing audio recordings, which it isn't. In any case, I am sure the ACLU or someone will pick this slam dunk up pretty quick.

  • AlgerHiss||

    This is a perfect case for jury nullification.

  • TxJack 112||

    Ever notice the states with the most draconian, totalitarian laws that protect the state and strip the citizens of personal liberty and rights are always the "tolerant, civilized, morally and intellectually superior" blue states?

  • Naaman Brown||

    But it's Chicago area Illinois.
    Could be worse: a blue coastie state.

  • The Metonymy||

    Video his curbstomping, post it on Worldstar.

  • darkwingdave||

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