Poll: Should wiretapping laws apply to public school officials in closed meetings?

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An East Manchester Township man is facing wiretapping charges after “secretly” recording a meeting between him and Northeastern School District public officials, according to Northeastern Regional Police Department documents. Roger Ryan Renoll requested the meeting to discuss his daughter allegedly being targeted by a bully.

Under Pennsylvania law, and the Sunshine Act, public meetings legally can be recorded. The definition of a public meeting includes a quorum, when there is a majority of board members present.

As the use of smartphones becomes an every day occurrence, the line between what is public and what is private has seemingly become blurred. When a meeting is considered private, the law does not allow individuals to intercept communications or possess a device for intercepting communications.

Pennsylvania law – when a meeting is private – requires all parties to consent to the recording.

The meeting, which was held on March 31, was Renoll, Northeastern Middle School Principal Mike Alessandroni, Assistant Principal Christine Rine, and Northeastern Regional Police held on school property. Renoll allegedly used an Apple iPhone to record their conversation. Renoll claims that his daughter was being harassed while on public school district property.

Should wiretapping laws apply to public school officials in closed meetings?