The Berkeley County Board of Education has dropped a lawsuit against a mother, who hid a recording device in her daughter’s hair that captured verbal abuse inside of a special education classroom at Berkeley Heights Elementary in Martinsburg.
In October, Amber Pack put the device in her daughter, Adri’s hair, after noticing bruises on her when she came home from school.
The lawsuit against Pack didn’t hold for long.
“Very upsetting,” said Berkeley County resident, Ruanna Hess.
Another resident, said, “I just thought it was bad.”
On Tuesday, the board dismissed the counter-lawsuit against Amber Pack, in which it claimed the recording is illegal and should be excluded from evidence in the ongoing case filed against the board.
“One-party state in West Virginia, so I don’t see nothing wrong with it,” said Jeffries. “I mean, the child can’t take up for herself.”
Pack’s attorney, Ben Salango, agrees, saying that West Virginia is a one-party consent state, and that courts all over the country have held that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public classroom.
Ruanna Hess has a special needs great-grandson, and says cases like this hit home for her.
“We’d like to know that he’s being treated fairly while he’s in the classroom, or away from his parents’ care,” she said.
Board members say they are not able to comment due to pending litigation, yet the question that remains for some is why there was a lawsuit against Pack at all.
“I just don’t understand why they filed a lawsuit against the parent, because she was just trying to protect her child,” said Jeffries.
Much of the public sentiment, according to social media posts, is that the current school board be replaced next election.
The terms for both the President of the board, Dr. William Queen, and board member Michelle Barnes-Russell expire on June 30, 2020. Vice President, Dr. Darin Gilpin, and board members Todd Beckwith and Patrick Murphy have terms that last until June of 2022.