I am a parent of a Kindergarten student. My daughter has Down syndrome and in an inclusionary class. Recently I was at the school to observe her engagement in class. While in her class I saw two little girls fighting in the corner. One of the girls was on top of the other pinning her down, much like a WWF wresting move.
I quickly asked the faculty to respond and at the same time, I recorded what I saw so that I would be able to properly report this to the authorities. After telling the principle and asking if she needed my recording for proof, I was told to delete the recording in front of her and that I am not permitted to record this type of interaction.
I am unsure what I did wrong if anything? Were they correct to have me delete the video, or is this destruction of evidence? Are there laws about this? Please provide any information you can. Thank you.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
While the school principal could insist, or even demand you delete the recording, you were under no legal obligation to do so.
The school principal can certainly ask you to leave school property and not return. If the principal asks you to leave the property and you refuse, or if the principal asks you not to return to the property and you do, that may be considered Trespassing.
In the State of Texas, trespassing is a crime. Section 30.05(a)(1)(2) of the Texas Penal Code reads in part:
“A person commits (the offense of Trespassing) if the person enters or remains on or in property of another…without effective consent, AND the person:
(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.”
While insisting you delete the video was technically destroying evidence, doing so was not a crime, nor was it a violation of any civil Texas statute (law).
However, the principal’s order to destroy the evidence would have been a criminal offense
if a subpoena duces tecum had been issued to the principal by a court, or if a there existed another court order prohibiting the destruction of evidence. Neither of those occurred. Likewise, if an attorney had sent a Spoliation of Evidence letter, it likely would have hurt the defendant.
Unfortunately, you appear to be at odds with the principal. Under the circumstances, that is certainly understandable. Try to resolve the issue amicably by speaking with the principal. Hopefully doing so will result in a peaceful resolution to the issues.
Learn more here: Personal Injury Laws by State
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
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