New district policy demands an alternative to texting

Anjali Pullabhotla, Staff Writer

From the beginning of freshman year, activities are an integral part of student life. Through activities, students are able to find themselves in a loving community of friends and, more importantly, mentors.

For most students, contact with coaches outside of school is necessary to understand schedules, rehearsal locations, and dates of tournaments/games. But, for some students, a coach is a close confidante when stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In past years, texting between coaches and students was not a fireable offense, but as the school year begins, that has been subject to change.

Under a new district-wide policy, teachers, coaches, and club sponsors are no longer allowed to communicate with students through texting. Instead, they will be required to use the Remind App which will allow for an increase in the efficiency as well as transparency in communication between students/teachers.

Activities Director Chad Zimmerman is confident that the Remind App is a step in the right direction.

“It’s really a two-way street of safeguarding. Obviously, if you have an adult interaction that’s inappropriate with a student, it is now monitored and archived. And, on the flip side, when we’ve got a situation where a student may be falsely accusing a teacher of misconduct, we have access to those messages as well,” Zimmerman said.

In this transition period,  many teachers and students alike are willing to make the changes needed to make this app a viable tool for communication between coaches/sponsors and students. To begin the process, the school district provided teachers with extensive training about the inner- workings of the app before the school year began.

“I’m hoping that as we adjust to using the program and the program adjusts to our needs that it will replace the need to text,” Director of Forensics Sabrina Denney Bull said.

Cross country coach Emily Janda has been using the Remind App since she started coaching.

“I see where some teachers could struggle with using the app, but it’s really the only thing that makes sense to communicate with athletes in a safe way. And there are very few things I don’t love about the app,” Janda said.

The school district is hopeful that the policy will prevent future cases of sexual misconduct and/or excessive personal communication between students/teachers in the school district.“Our hope is that it students will still have healthy relationships with their coaches, but it’s important for us, as a district, to be able to monitor those relationships,” Zimmerman said.