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.
Sometimes that is easier said than done, especially in education. My analogy for this is Chocolate Cake--and why not? Everyone (or 99.2% of the folks I know) likes chocolate cake!
February stats for sales tax collections and links to sign up for upcoming finance trainings.
Events, scholarships, contests and other opportunities for December and beyond.
Ransomware is infecting institutions throughout the country, including many here in Oklahoma. School districts are being hit. Lest you think it won’t affect your small or rural school, think again