Students Secretly Taping Angry Teachers

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 8, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, all over the country, cell phones and other electronic devices are causing trouble in schools. Students are using these devices in a variety of ways, including taping angry teachers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to hear a sound! Not a sound! (INAUDIBLE) will come on, you will stand quietly, you will pay attention! Any questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will stop talking when I tell you to stop talking! You have been getting out of hand here. You will settle down now and you will stay that way. You are disrupting class across the hall. So when I tell you to stop talking, that means stop whistling and stop acting like an idiot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock it off! You unfortunately, if this was on the street and I saw you throw pencil (ph) and you hit me in the head, we would not even be having this stupid conversation, I would just come over pull your head off your shoulders.


O'REILLY: Now here in New York City, schools have banned all cell phones, controversy is nationwide. Joining us from Miami, Mark Eiglarsh, an attorney and free speech advocate.

So what do you think about — in general about the cell phones in school? I mean, these kids are text messaging, they're talking on the phone in class. They're doing all this kind of stuff. What do you think about that?

MARK EIGLARSH, ATTORNEY/FREE SPEECH ADVOCATE: Well, any student who's creating a disturbance obviously should be punished and reprimanded. That's not appropriate. The reality, Bill, is students are bringing them to school, whether we like it or not, in schools that don't permit phones in school. They're bringing them in. So they're there. Now, can they be used for a positive impact? The answer is yes. We just saw some great video of teachers acting improperly, committing emotional abuse, at a minimum, on students and reprimanding them.

O'REILLY: So you think scolding teachers — scolding students in a loud voice is emotional abuse? Is that what you're telling me?

EIGLARSH: Did you see that video?

O'REILLY: I did.

EIGLARSH: Bill, that is grossly inappropriate. And while most teachers are wonderful...

O'REILLY: I want to know what's grossly inappropriate about it. Is it raising a voice to a student is emotional abuse? Is that what you're saying?

EIGLARSH: It depends on the manner in which they're raising their voice and the words that they choose to use.

O'REILLY: All right. I think if the teacher goes out of control, you're right. But I think that yelling at a student or a class is not emotional abuse.

Now if you're a principal, would you ban all cell phones from the school grounds, as they have in New York City?

EIGLARSH: Absolutely not. It could never be enforced, first of all.

O'REILLY: Sure it could. OK. Absolutely. If you ban the cell phone and it is visible, you confiscate it. It's gone. And then you suspend the student for a day or you give them some other punishment. So you can enforce it.

But you would not — you would not — look, but I live here in the city, and I know how they enforce it, and it works. So whether you disagree or not doesn't matter.

But you say what? You say that the kids should be able to have a cell phone in the classroom? What if it rings in the middle of a lesson or a test? What do you think about that?

EIGLARSH: Then they should — they should be disciplined for disturbing the classroom the same way...

O'REILLY: But what's the rule? What's the rule?

EIGLARSH: I need to turn my phone off or it will be confiscated.

O'REILLY: All right. So you turn the phone off the whole school day or what's the rule?

EIGLARSH: The rule is that you cannot have a phone that disturbs the classroom.

O'REILLY: That disturbs the class. So you put it on vibrate? Is that OK? And then you can pick it up and just watch your text message?

EIGLARSH: No, you can't use it during classroom hours unless a teacher is committing physical or emotional abuse. You can turn that thing on and have conclusive...

O'REILLY: And then you can secretly spy on the teacher?

EIGLARSH: Well, no Bill –- you can have conclusive proof that the teacher is misbehaving. And hopefully, that teacher will be reprimanded, instead of relying upon solely the word of a student.

O'REILLY: What you're saying is that kids should be allowed to secretly tape their teachers. You know, we saw this video edited. This is edited video. We don't know what the kid did, whether the kid spit at the teacher or said "F you" to the teacher. We don't know anything.

I do agree the teacher has to be under control in the classroom. I taught for two years. But I did raise my voice, and it wasn't emotional abuse. And you can't control the class unless you have.

EIGLARSH: Bill, you knew when you taught in Ocalaca, close by to where I'm at right now, that there were some teachers that were short of 52 cards and shouldn't be teaching...

O'REILLY: That's true.

EIGLARSH: ... with video showing that they were not properly behaving themselves in the classroom.

O'REILLY: But you can't allow children...

EIGLARSH: ... physically, emotionally abusing a child.

O'REILLY: If you want that type of surveillance on teachers, then you allow a camera to record in the classroom that's mounted and everybody sees it. You can't allow students...

EIGLARSH: Bring them on, Bill. Bring them on. Bring the cameras in there.

O'REILLY: I don't know how the ACLU is going to feel about that. I don't know how the ACLU is going to feel about that.

All right, Counselor. Interesting discussion that's going on all over the USA. We appreciate your time.

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