Mother Faces Felony Charges After School Catches 9-Year Old with Recording Device
College student and single mother of a 9-year old child, Sarah Sims, 47, faces felony charges after her daughter was caught with a recording device at school.
Sarah Sims’ daughter attends Oceanview Elementary school in Norfolk, Virginia. According to Sims, she claims her 9-year old daughter was complaining about being bullied at school, not just by fellow students, but by her teacher as well.
Sims decided to find out what was going on herself, so she sent her daughter to school with a recording device. Her daughter took the recording device to school with her in September, where it was soon discovered and confiscated by the school.
At this point in the story, a normal school reaction would be to call the Mother in and talk to her about why she sent her daughter to the school with a recording device. But that’s not what Oceanview Elementary School did. Instead, they chose to call the police.
The Norfolk Police department conducted an “investigation,” later charging her with interception, disclosure of wire, electric or oral communications, which is a class 6 felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The Class 6 felony contains a sentencing penalty of up to five years in prison, meaning Sims, if she is found guilty, could be sent away from her daughter for up to five years for simply trying to protect her daughter from bullying by a teacher.
One must wonder what goes through the minds of the people who actually called the police, outside of, perhaps, a desperate desire to protect one of their own from being exposed for abuse. One must also wonder what goes through the minds of the police who conducted this “investigation,” as well as whoever decided it was appropriate to go ahead with these serious charges against a woman simply looking after her daughter’s safety.
Perhaps this is simply a case of government agents looking after one another. Perhaps this a case where the government agents, the school administrators that made the decision to actually call the police on one of their students’ mothers, knowing full well it could lead to that student’s mother being caged, recognize that this precedent must be shut down. This woman must be made an example of, in as harsh and as visible a manner as possible.
We can’t have parents and students exposing the true nature of what government-run schools are really like. We must make a strong example of this woman, even if it means depriving a 9-year old of her mother.
I have little doubt that if the people behind the series of decisions that led to these charges were running things in another time, they might very well simply cut this woman’s head off and place it on a pike outside the school. That, my friends, is essentially what they are doing here, metaphorically. And I have little doubt if they thought they could get away with it, that this is exactly what they’d do.
In an interview with CNN, Sim’s Lawyer, Kristin Paulding, said, “I was appalled when I heard these charges. I’ve been practicing criminal law for 10 years, and I was shocked to see that the school would decide to go to the police department and ultimately charge this mother as opposed to sitting her down and having just a simple conversation about what were her concerns and how could the school alleviate those concerns.”
An investigator working for Paulding’s law firm, Thomas Shattuck, told the Washington Post that after the school officials confiscated the recording device (presumably the very teacher that was being accused of bullying), a police officer came to the school and interviewed the child without the mother’s consent.
Shattuck added that, “Nine years old is awfully young for a detective to question a child without the mother’s consent, especially if the mother is the target of the investigation. You’re essentially asking the daughter to testify against her mother.”
The recording device itself was never returned. Shattuck said “our concern is that they heard the recording and called the city attorney’s office. If it was just a blank recording, why call the city attorney’s office? We’re very curious with what’s in the recording.”
The Norfolk Public School District is not responding, as you could imagine. The Norfolk Police Department, now complicit in what looks like a cover-up to protect an abusive teacher, is also offering no response outside of saying that Sims was charged November 6th after an investigation, one that involved taking a 9-year old child and questioning them, without the Mother’s consent, putting that child in a position to testify against her own mother.
The Attorney’s office that thought it was appropriate to charge the mother with a felony that could put her in a cage for 5 years for merely trying to look out for the safety of her daughter has also offered no comment as to why or how they came to that conclusion.
The spokeswoman is Amanda Howie. One wonders how Amanda goes to sleep at night knowing she’s part of a process that made the decisions all of the government agents made here, decisions that could rip a mother from her daughter.
As a last zinger to this story of a mother facing the threat of government guns forcing her into a cage for five years, Virginia’s laws regarding recording clearly favor the mother and her 9-year old child. Virginia is a one-party consent state, meaning that it only takes one party to consent to a conversation being recorded to allow that recording to take place.
Well, the 9-year old consented. So, maybe Virginia isn’t for lovers after all, maybe it’s simply for government agents who like to threaten a 9-year old’s Mommy with kidnapping if she dares to try to protect her child from one of their own.
Here is a report from a local news outlet: