One listener wants to know the repercussions of recording a teacher conference. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

At a parent/teacher disciplinary meeting at a small private New Jersey high school, the student secretly recorded the meeting and distributed it to other students. Listener Scott S. wants to know if the teacher could sue the student or the parents? 

Well, under state wiretap laws, people have to be notified if someone is recording a conversation, but state laws differ on how many people have to be notified. In about half the states, all parties have to be told. But in others, like New Jersey, only one person has to know and the student knew, so it’s not a New Jersey wiretap violation. 

It could be a violation of privacy if the conversation were in a private place like a bedroom but this wasn’t. And distributing the recording could violate privacy if private facts were revealed, but it’s probably private facts about the student not the teacher. Still, it’s highly likely a violation of the school’s rules, so the disciplinary hearing could well end with additional discipline.

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