Many school districts have welcomed and utilized automatic telephone dialing (i.e., “autodialing”) systems and text messages as means of communicating with students, parent and staff. As your school district updates its communications plan and/or student/parent handbook for a new year, it’s important to revisit obligations with respect to these methods of communication under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”), particularly in light of the FCC rules that went into effect late last year.
In October 2013, the Federal Communications Commission updated its implementing regulations to include the requirement that called parties must give “prior express consent” to receive autodialed or pre-recorded calls to their cell phones. Text messages and short message service (SMS) are “calls” subject to the TCPA and its regulations.
“Emergency” calls made by a school district to a residential land line, such as in the instance of a crisis, are not subject to the prior express consent requirement. However, for any routine, non-urgent messages—like notifications on school closings or information about upcoming events—sent to cell phones, school districts will need to have a system that allows each intended recipient to “opt-in” to receiving the messages.
This is an extra to my weekly blogs because I could not let this “teachable moment” slide. I have read all of the articles I could find this past weekend after hearing of the passing of my favorite author, Harper Lee.
Thank you! Yes, thank you to all educators who interact daily with your students.
The election may not have gone your way. I must admit, I’m cautiously optimistic about the impact of the new administration. There is one thing I know for sure: the president has a lot of work to do to get this economy moving.
As I write this today, we are exactly three hours and twenty eight minutes from the official deadline for the legislature to gavel session closed.