Sarah Sims’ 9-year-old daughter was being bullied at her Virginia school. She emailed administrators at her daughter’s school, Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, but heard nothing but crickets.
So she took matters into her own hands.
Sims placed a digital audio recorder in her daughter’s backpack to gather proof of the bullying. She didn’t think that officials would find the device and question her daughter. In fact, they moved the 9 year old to a different classroom without informing her.
A month later, she was charged with felony use of a device to intercept oral communication and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison.
“The next thing I know, I’m a felon. I’ve got felony charges and a misdemeanor when I’m trying to look out for my kid. What do you do?” she asked.
Similar to her previous correspondence, she did not get an answer from the school.
“I tried to be fair, but it’s not fair,” she said.
She shared her story with “CNN Tonight’s” Don Lemon on Monday. There she detailed some of the bullying her daughter faced, including being kicked in the stomach and hit with a jump rope while on the playground. She said that the school didn’t notify her when the incidents occurred.
The little girl reportedly became “very anxious” about attending school. Sims said she took her daughter out of the school because she “was refusing to go” and “felt like she wasn’t protected.”
“I was appalled when I heard these charges,” said Kristin Paulding, Sims’ attorney. “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.”
Sims still has many unanswered questions.
School district spokeswoman Khalilah LeGrand said they were “unable to comment on any pending legal matters.”
“Why are you working so hard to vilify me instead of addressing the issue of why this even exists? The most important part is what’s going on in the classroom?” Sims asked.