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Parents Secretly Record Son's Class, Angered by What They Hear

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The Short of It

An Albuquerque, N.M., couple has pulled their 5-year-old son out of school after secretly using a recording device to find out what was going on in his classroom.

The Lowdown

Juliet Walker and her husband, Blake, had received notes from their son Alex's teacher regarding "behavioral issues" and they had noticed the boy was coming home agitated from school daily, so they decided to plant a USB audio recorder in Alex's pocket to see if they could figure out what was going on.

Walker told KRQE News 13 that they were planning to use the classroom recordings to get to the bottom of things so they could then work with Alex to fix the problems. But when the couple sat down to listen to the two 6-hour-long recordings over the weekend, they were completely floored, not by Alex's behavior, but by his teacher's.

At one point in the first recording, Alex repeatedly asks for help cleaning his hands. Finally, an adult voice is heard saying, "Just shut your mouth right now." "My hands are dirty," Alex then says. "I don't care," the adult voice responds.

In the other recording, the same adult voice shuts Alex down again when he talks about "not liking" another student. "You know what," the voice says. "Put your hand down, and if you don't have something nice to say, keep your little mouth shut." She then goes on to call Alex "rude" and tells him he is "acting like a baby" in front of the entire class.

"It's not the appropriate way to react, that you're just going to tell the student to shut their mouth," Walker told KRQE. "What message is that telling the students when they hear that? If my son is not behaving what they're expecting to, at least the teacher should show the proper way of disciplining them. I don't see any proper guidance, proper behavior, appropriate behavior.[sic]"

The Walkers have now pulled Alex out of the school and plan to homeschool him.

The Upshot

KRQE News 13 reached out to the school for comment on the matter, but officials said they couldn't investigate until they heard the audio evidence. But the Walkers say that when they tried to give the recordings to the school's principal, she wouldn't take them. They plan to drop them off at the Albuquerque Public Schools headquarters instead.

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