Mother Charged With Felony After Putting Recorder in Daughter's Backpack to Catch Bully

A mother in Norfolk, Virginia is facing felony charges for something she didn't even realize was a crime. Sarah Sims put an audio recording device in her daughter's backpack before school one day to gather evidence against a bully. When the device was found, Sims' 9-year-old daughter was immediately removed from the classroom, and a month later, Sims herself was arrested.

Sims told reporters at WAVY that she had called and emailed staff members at the school repeatedly, looking for a way to handle her daughter's bullying situation. After being ignored time and time again, Sims put the recording device into her daughter's backpack — not just to catch the bullies in the act, but to try and make a case that the school wasn't doing enough to stop it.

Sources say that Sims could be charged with felony use of device to intercept oral communication, and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If she's found guilty, the charges could result in a total of six years in prison.

However, Sims' lawyer doesn't think it will come to that.

"They aren't making this about the classroom," Attorney Kristin Paulding told reporters. She says the harsh consequences the school is trying to impose on Sims are just more cover-up. "I think the community needs to know that this is happening, because any parent out there that is sending their child to school now could be at risk for something that happened to Sarah," Paulding said.


Sims herself is simply upset that her actions got her and her daughter into so much more trouble.

"I was mortified," she said. "The next thing I know, I'm a felon. Felony charges and a misdemeanor when I'm trying to look out for my kid."