Non-emergency robo calls to parents under scrutiny in Brevard County
Changes in federal regulations regarding robo-calling could have wide ranging implications for school districts all across Florida.
The Brevard Times highlights the issue in a story looking at the Brevard school district's use of automated calls and text messages to promote its 2014 half-percent sales tax referendum. The district did not receive parents' consent to receive such non-emergency calls and texts, the Brevard Times reports, despite rules requiring advanced permission.
"BPS was not aware of the FCC rule changes, and Blackboard did not inform us when we contracted with them back in July 2014, that we would be required to obtain express consent from parents to send non-emergency automated messages and texts to cell phones," [district spokeswoman Michelle] Irwin told Brevard Times. "The school registration form only has a line for parents to enter a 'primary contact' number which does not tell us whether it is a cell phone or land line. Parents have the option to add their cell phone number and we believed that through their active inclusion of this number we had permission to notify them of non-emergency, but education related issues. ...
"BPS Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn, BPS Attorney Harold Blistline, and I are now in the process of reviewing policies for recommended changes to BPS's auto-messaging system. BPS will develop procedures to obtain parents' express consent for other types of informational calls during next year's registration. Parents want this kind of information about their child's school activities."