A Pennsylvania mother whose learning-disabled son was convicted of disorderly conduct for recording his bullies while they tormented him demanded the judge reverse decision and the school district apologize.
Shea Love wondered why the school district contacted the police to discuss a violation of wiretap statutes instead of confronting the students who were bullying her son, a sophomore at South Fayette High School with attention deficit and an anxiety disorder.
“The whole thing has been a horrible nightmare,” Love told the Tribune-Review. “This whole ordeal has made my son miserable.”
On the recording — which the 15-year-old made on his iPad — one student can be heard telling another to pull Love’s son’s pants down. The teacher can be heard intervening, telling the students that they need to stop talking if their discussion isn’t about math.
A few minutes later, a loud slam can be heard, followed by the teacher telling students to sit down. “What? I was just trying to scare him,” one of the boys can be heard saying.
The 15-year-old said he made the recording “because I always felt like it wasn’t me being heard.”
“I wanted some help,” he continued. “This wasn’t just a one-time thing. This always happens every day in that class.”
Upon learning of the recording, South Fayette High School principal Scott Milburn and assistant principal Aaron Skrbin contacted Lieutenant Robert Kurta, asking that he come to the school because he believed there had been “a wiretapping incident.”
School district officials forced the student to erase the recording and ordered him to attend Saturday detention. Kurta charged him with disorderly conduct, but didn’t believe that the incident warranted a felony wiretapping charge, though according to court records, he was adamant the student had “committed a crime.”
South Fayette District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet found the student guilty, fined him $25 and ordered him to pay court costs.
The Tribune-Review attempted to contact both principal Milburn and assistant principal Skrbin to inquire as to the fate of the bullies heard in the recording, but they have not returned any phone calls.
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