In any academic institution, maintaining clear communication with parents, caregivers, and first responders is crucial to prevent and manage disasters, disturbances, and emergencies.
But did you know there are strategies you can implement to ensure that vital school phone systems also adhere to Federal Communications Communications (FCC) regulations, irrespective of your phone system?
Whether it's crafting clear policies, managing parental consent, or securing student data, these strategies can equip your school to navigate the complex web of FCC regulations without losing sight of effective communication. If these seem overwhelming, don't worry. We'll explore what these legislations entail and how you can develop strategies to ensure compliance.
But first, let’s review the FCC’s regulations, as well as E911 and various legislation geared toward clear communication in emergency situations.
What Are the FCC Phone Rules?
In school environments, compliance with specific guidelines is essential. This includes measures such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Extending this theme further is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Then there’s legislative actions such as Kari's Law and Ray Baum's Act, which are further bolstered by Enhanced 911 (E911).
Let’s take a brief look at each of these below:
Kari’s Law: Enacted in February 2020 and required for multiple phone systems utilized in offices, schools, and hotels, Kari’s Law removes additional trunk prefixes, such as dialing “9” when placing outbound E911 center calls.
Ray Baum Act: This act mandates telephone systems to provide specific address information during emergency dispatches, improving response times and sharing critical information before first responders arrive. It also includes provisions for a callback number to avoid confusion from potential dropped calls.
E911: This enables schools to pinpoint the exact building, room, and location of a specific emergency. Bolstering effective internal school communication during any type of disaster, E911 reduces life-threatening injuries and other situations.
TCPA: Ensures parental consent is received, managed, and updated concerning non-emergency communications.
CIPA: Ensures filtering and removal of any inappropriate/explicit content across school internet systems.
FERPA: While not directly related to phone systems, this ensures student privacy and educational records non-disclosure.
Finally, let’s map out the strategies that work to keep your schools and other locations in compliance with FCC regulations.
Strategies to Meet FCC Regulations
Educational institutions may wonder how they can ensure the implementation of these regulations. Although it might seem overwhelming, we at CCi Voice are here to guide you through these changes and recommend the most suitable phone systems. We always enjoy engaging in live discussions with potential and current customers about their technology needs. However, in the meantime, here are a few best practices and tips you can put into action.
Develop Clear Policies & Guidelines
It’s important to have your policies and guidelines regarding FCC regulations clearly written out and established. Then, once developed, these should be communicated with parents, students, and staff.
Establish Consent Management & Preferences
It’s recommended for schools to have an opt-in/opt-out system for parents and guardians to receive automated messaging on non-emergency notifications. Consent management tools can also accurately document these choices.
Implement Secure Data Handling
Online security is undeniably vital in a school environment, but remember not to overlook the security of your phone systems. Implementing robust measures like encryption and password protection ensures the security of sensitive student information and records. It's crucial to align these protective measures with the previously mentioned FERPA requirements.
Perform Audits & Compliance Assessments
Adding an appropriate FCC compliance infrastructure and adhering to federal regulations are merely the initial steps of an extended process. Just like any technology, these should be regularly assessed, monitored, and, if necessary, updated. This includes consent verification records, opt-in/opt-out preferences, E911 systems, and others.
Stay in Touch & Aligned With Service Provider Partners
While we may be slightly biased, collaborating with knowledgeable service providers like CCi Voice can significantly assist schools in keeping up with the latest regulations and changes. We can conduct regular updates and training sessions, both online and in-person, and provide troubleshooting and routine maintenance support.
CCi Voice: Helping Schools Navigate Phone System Requirements
Once you’ve decided your school requires a new phone system or phone service, we can help you every step of the way. Whether you want guidance on the right type(s) or need help understanding the latest FCC regulations, we are just a click or phone call away!
CCi Voice is completely transparent when it comes to pricing. View our pricing page to see how cost-effective we are, and all the features we include—at no extra charge—when compared to the competition!