Student who posted teachers text messages may have committed crime

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Nov. 15, 2019 at 7:29 PM CST
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A student who posted seemingly inappropriate text messages between several Ashford school teachers could face criminal charges, according to a former prosecutor.

“Any citizen has an expectation of privacy in their private communications,” attorney Raynor Clifton told WTVY.

The six teachers did not receive that privacy and, after school officials learned of the messages, and some have been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation.

“Alabama is what's called a one party recording state and that typically applies to telephonic communications but it can be extended to text messages, in my opinion,” Clifton said.

In their conversations, members of the teachers group used a racial slur, one threatened to “b__ch” slap another teacher, and the group also discussed sexual behavior of students.

Here's the way Clifton, now a private practicing attorney, explains Alabama law.

If two ore more people converse then those conversations, even electronic ones, can be publicly revealed, such as publishing, by those who participated, even without approval from the others.

However, anyone not a party to the conversation would violate the law.

Clifton said criminal eavesdropping is a Class A misdemeanor though he can't recall anyone being prosecuted for the crime.

(This article updated to reflect Class A Misdemeanor, not felony.)

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