Voice and SMS Announcement notifications sent by your district thru this application are beholden to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or 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.
When enrolling students and providing contact information, parents agree to let the district contact them for purposes “closely related” to the mission of the school. This does not permit the district, school or class messaging in an unlimited capacity or frequency and there must be ways for the user to control the frequency and revoke their permission to receive general notifications from the district. Emergency and Attendance related messaging are the exceptions to these rules.
- TCPA prohibits automated calls and texts made to telephone numbers without prior consent.
- The FCC considers an SMS text to also be a call.
- In mid-2015, FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order applying TCPA regulations to K-12 schools and school districts.
- Voice and texts sent on behalf of school districts for “Emergency Purposes” are exempt from TCPA violations.
- TCPA violations could result in fines against your school district from the FCC of between $500-$1,500 for each individual unsolicited call or message. The amount of the fine is ultimately determined by a court evaluating if the organization that sent the message was knowingly violating the law.
- 2016 Clarification: “Emergency Purposes” include calls or messages relating to weather closures, incidents of threats or violence to the school due to fire, dangerous persons, health risks and unexcused absences.
- K-12 ed-tech vendors, schools and districts should stay well-informed of regulatory requirements imposed by the FCC so they can continue reaching out to staff, student, parents and guardians in the most compliant and effective manner.
Do schools need to continue providing recipients with the ability to opt-out of being contacted?
Yes. Schools must continue to honor a request to opt-out of being contacted for general messaging at any time and using any reasonable method. TCPA compliance is consistent with general best practices for parent communications, including providing parents with ongoing opportunities to revoke consent (ingeneral or for specific types of communications) and to identify their preferred, and therefore the most effective,communications channel (ideally by purpose, such as emergency, school activities, and so on). Exceptions to this requirement are so called "Emergency Purposes" including calls or messages relating to weather closures, incidents of threats or violence to the school due to fire, dangerous persons, health risks and unexcused absences.