A new method of notifying Batesville Community School Corp. parents and guardians about no school Dec. 16 was tested at around 8:50 a.m., superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts told trustees that night. The initial two-hour delay was changed to a last-minute cancellation because Franklin County leaders switched to a Level 2 travel advisory.
It took the automated School Messenger system 10-12 minutes to communicate with 2,100 BCSC families by phone. The process started after customary notifications were made to the media, plus Nixle, Twitter and Facebook, which lasted about half an hour.
He reported, “We do think it will be a really good system for us.”
The superintendent urged families to provide the correct phone numbers to schools. Most phones were either answered by persons or voicemail, but some of the messages didn’t get through. “We’ll continue to research those.” He advised district families to listen to BCSC messages before punching re-dial, which should avoid unnecessary phone calls to the administrative building in the future.
Trustee Wanita Linkel wondered if soon School Messenger would be the only method used to inform families about weather and other alerts. “We don’t want to overuse it,” Roberts replied. The method will be utilized “when we want them to know for sure something is happening,” such as an early dismissal.
Trustee Ray Call asked about School Messenger’s cost. It’s about $4,000, a little less than $2 per child. Several vendors were considered, with School Messenger chosen because it offers a free app, which should be available in late January, said director of learning Melissa Burton.
The superintendent updated the board on action taken after “there was an allegation to the U.S. Office of Civil Rights that we had mishandled a situation. We are complying” with the office’s recommendations.
One was to release an anti-harassment statement. It begins, “The Batesville Community School Corp. will not tolerate sexual harassment. As per BCSC Policy 4.0-30, Sexual Harassment Policy, BCSC works to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment. It is a violation of this policy for any employee of BCSC to harass another employee or student through conduct or communications of a sexual nature. It is also a violation of this policy for a student to harass another student through unwelcome conduct or communication of a sexual nature.” The statement can be read in its entirety at http://bcsc.batesvilleinschools.com/.