School Closings & Delays

York County father faces felony charge after meeting with daughter’s principal over bullying

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EAST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- A York County dad who goes to the principal's office could end up in jail.

It started with a concerned father who reported his daughter was being bullied at school by another student.

Now that man faces a felony charge.

The Pennsylvania wiretapping statute may be confusing to many people who might not see anything wrong with recording someone.

People use their phones not just to make calls, but capture a moment.

East Manchester Township resident Elmer Couch said "I think it's everybody's right to record, myself. I mean, you record what the police do, why can't you record what the public does."

According to court documents, that's allegedly what Roger Renoll was doing when he placed his phone on a table, and recorded a conversation with Northeastern Middle School Administrators about his daughter being bullied.

After the meeting, a school secretary reportedly saw Renoll pull out his phone and say "got it."

The alleged recording violated Pennsylvania law.

Attorney Chuck Hobbs said "if they intentionally intercept oral communication, in this case, and make an effort to use the evidence that they captured or disseminate that information.

East Manchester Township resident Kendy Zortman said "I think maybe he should have asked first, if it was OK to record it or not. I really did know there was a law against that either."

Northeastern Regional Police investigated, and brought that question to the York County District Attorney's office, which provided the answer.

Attorney Chuck Hobbs explained the difference between legal and illegal recording in Pennsylvania.

"It's not a notice provision in this statute, it's a permission provision. What that means is, I just can't tell you 'hey bud I'm recording this conversation.' I actually have to get your permission. I have to say is it OK that I'm recording this conversation, and if you say no, I can't record," Hobbs said.

The distinction makes the law against wiretapping or illegal recordings confusing to some.

"It's a tough law and it's unforgiving most people don't know about it. think that's the biggest problem, I think many attorney's don't know about it," Hobbs said.