LUMBERTON — Parents and legal guardians of students in the Public Schools of Robeson County will have to give their consent to receive informational messages from the central office.
Connect Ed is a robocalling system that sends a pre-recorded message on topics ranging from school cancellations to notice that report cards have been sent home. A recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission will now group school messaging systems with telemarketers and businesses that make unsolicited pre-recorded calls or messages.
The law “affects a school district being able to use Connect Ed to a point that, if I call your house through Connect Ed, I could be held liable for calling without your permission,” Superintendent Tommy Lowry told the board. Lowry is often the voice on the phone calls.
The decision was embedded into the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a law adopted in 1991 that regulates telecommunications between telemarketers and consumers. The decision was made July 2015, according to a document from the FCC.
The FCC says that “unwanted robocalls and texts, both telemarketing and informational, top the list of consumer complaints received by the commission” month after month. Consumer complaints about calls to wireless phones averaged more than 10,000 a month in 2012, and the FCC received 5,000 to 6,000 similar complaints each month in 2013 and 2014.
“What we are bound to do, unless the FCC provides some relief, is to obtain written consent from the parents or guardians of the children in the Public Schools of Robeson County to leave messages through robocalls,” said Grady Hunt, the school system’s attorney.
The central office is creating a consent form that will be distributed after Hunt’s approval.
In other business, the board:
— Approved Lowry’s recommendations for three assistant principal transfers and one new assistant principal contract. Shelia Locklear was moved from East Robeson Elementary School to Purnell Swett High School; Andrew Davis was moved from Lumberton Senior High School to East Robeson Elementary School; Shawn Feeko from Red Springs High School to Lumberton Senior High School. The new contract is for Nick Baffaro, who works as a grant coordinator at the central office, to be Red Springs High School’s new assistant principal.
— Heard from Dee Grissett, president of the Robeson Association of Educators, who urged the board to consider increasing teacher supplements.
— Watched a video of photographs from the back-to-school celebration held Thursday at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center.
— Were invited to Opening Day on Aug. 18 at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center, where teachers will receive free food and prizes and will have the opportunity to meet more than 100 vendors. Board member and former teacher Craig Lowry encouraged board members to attend and show support for teachers.
Gabrielle Isaac can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @news_gabbie.