WASTING A TEACHABLE MOMENT: Student charged with felony for recording principal at school

It could have been a teachable moment.

Instead, Paul Boron, a 13-year-old middle school student in Manteno, IL, is facing felony charges.

Did he slip someone a date rape drug at a party? Was he dealing drugs? Was he sexting? None of the above. His crime: recording a conversation between himself and his principal without the principal’s consent in violation of Illinois’s eavesdropping law. The Illinois law requires the consent of all parties when recording a private conversation.

The school district and the justice system could have taken this opportunity to educate Boron and other students about the law. Instead, they took an unduly heavy-handed approach.

The Manteno District Handbook prohibits students from violating criminal law, including eavesdropping. Under district guidelines, Boron could have received a disciplinary conference, detention or suspension, among other options. But the district preferred to press criminal charges.

In my practice, I have seen my share of cases where a school district’s punishment exceeds the crime. Middle and high school students do pretty foolish things. A district could use its authority to teach and correct those students rather than punish. Saddling a 13-year-old with a criminal record for a minor transgression serves no purpose and wastes taxpayer money.

If your child is facing disciplinary proceedings at school and/or criminal charges, you should contact a qualified attorney immediately. Parents often believe they can reason with a school district themselves, but many times this strategy sadly backfires. An attorney can review your child’s situation for his or her best options. Those options can include representing the child at a hearing or negotiating an exit strategy from the school.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or school matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

Source: Manteno Teen Facing Felony Eavesdropping Charge for Recording Meeting with School Administrators.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)