With the recent update to a federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Alert Solutions wants to ensure K-12 schools stay well-informed of regulatory requirements imposed by the FCC so that they can continue to reach out to parents using the communication channels they prefer.
What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented the TCPA to prohibit calls made to telephone numbers using (i) automatic telephone dialing systems, or (ii) artificial or prerecorded voices without receiving prior consent from the called party. The FCC also considers a text to be a call.
In addition, in the summer of 2015, the FCC stated the following regulations will now apply to educational organizations including K-12 schools:
- Consent is required from the “called party”
(parent or guardian) assigned to the telephone number dialed and billed for the
- Called parties must be able to revoke consent at
any time (opt-out) and the sender of the message (K-12 school or district) must
be able to show proof of the consent.
- Consent is not required for voice calls and SMS
messages for “emergency purposes”.
What does this mean for your school?
For school districts using automated notification systems, this means ensuring processes for obtaining consent, managing opt outs and carefully considering what is and is not an emergency alert.
Here are some suggestions from Alert Solutions:
1. Tag Messages by Category - Alert Solutions enables its customers to tag every scheduled broadcast with a message category, including ‘emergency’. Clearly indicate to staff members what types of communications warrant this category (school closure notifications, etc.).
2. Use a Parent Portal - K-12 schools should provide parents and guardians with an online tool to manage their communication preferences. Alert Solutions encourages the use of our Parent Portal features throughout the school year. Our PowerSchool Parent Portal Integration or the Parent Dashboard allows parents to set their preferences by message category and communication channel.
Bonus Tip! K-12 schools can also consider a document for parents and guardians to complete during registration. The form can be used to document written consent for the communication channels and types of messages parents wish to receive.
3. Make Sure Your Service Provider Manages Your Opt-Outs - Alert Solutions maintains do-not-contact lists for all communication channels providing options to be opted-out of receiving messages. This will immediately block contact numbers upon recipient request.
To learn more about how Alert Solutions helps K-12 schools comply with the new TCPA regulations, download our guide to TCPA. You may also contact us at (800) 929-1643 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.