Due to recent stories and cases of teacher and student relationships in school, many districts across the state and country have changed their policies with texting between students and teachers. According to the new policy in effect this year, if a coach/adviser texts or messages a student, they are required to copy his/her district email address in the text. The original policies of only texting students about issues related to their sport or club and not texting between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. are still in place. Texting between teachers and students is allowed, but there are more restrictions.
For some groups, however, these policies hinder communication when it needs to be immediate. They also affect communication with outside of school activities such as publications, athletics, theatre, etc. Most of these organizations rely on texting between students, teachers and advisers to be able to get work done. Coaches and directors often text players when practices are cancelled or game times change. Publications advisers text their staffs about story ideas, breaking news and photo opportunities. Now, the coach/adviser/teacher has to email the student, which is not easier to use. All of these organizations need to text for their own purpose. Publications require communication between adviser and staff, and between the staff themselves. With the hydra of a publication staff, if you cut one head off, the publication either fails or struggles. This can make work harder than it needs to be and .
While there are other venues for messaging and communication, they aren’t in any way as easy to use as texting. Texting is instant, and everyone pretty much uses it. Facebook is instant, but not a lot of students use or even check it as often as text messaging. This is the same with emails. A student may not have wi-fi or access to their email if they really need to contact their adviser or coach. If a student were traveling and needed assistance from a coach or teacher, they might not be able to email them, but could text them in an emergency.
Communication, especially for sports and organizations, is necessary. And not being able to communicate with the adviser/coach can cause miscommunication, and problems within the organization. Players could miss practice, because it was changed and there could be missed story opportunities, the list goes on. The reason the districts put in this policy is to make teacher and student communication transparent to avoid inappropriate situations. Now, for core course teachers this isn’t much of an issue as these teachers mostly use Remind 101, but for extracurricular teachers the need for communication is bigger. There are ways the school districts can fix this.
The districts should allow texting between teachers and students if a parent consents, and signs a form giving permission to the teacher to text the student without copying emails, or without relying on email exclusively, similar to a permission slip given for field trips. This would eliminate the problem of no communication, and also still have that texting policy in place. Then, publication staffs, and coaches wouldn’t have issues with communicating to their students. The controversial relationships between teachers and students is an issue, but so is not being able to communicate with an easy-to-use venue.