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Parents want more communications from school

An Oriole News survey asked parents, on a scale of one (not satisfied) to five (very satisfied), how satisfied are you with how the school/district communicates with you when it comes to situations that occur during school.

Infographic by Lindsay Baugher

An Oriole News survey asked parents, on a scale of one (not satisfied) to five (very satisfied), how satisfied are you with how the school/district communicates with you when it comes to situations that occur during school.

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In the age of technology and social media where information can be spread to the masses quickly, parents wish they more informed and the school communicated more often with them.

Policies on what is communicated to parents are the responsibility of the Board of Education (BOE).

According to Superintendent John Black, no specific policies exist regarding communication with parents.

“All policies are reviewed and approved by the BOE. Most of our policies are developed by KASB, Kansas Association of School Boards,” Black said. “A KASB attorney is responsible for reviewing, editing and writing policies. Policies are generally updated twice a year as recommended by KASB,”

Certain rules keep the administration from communicating certain situations.

“It depends on the specific type of issue and whether it is referring to a specific student and parent or to all parents in the district. If it is related to all parents in a building or across the district it is an administrative decision based a need to know basis,” Black said. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have restrictions, and Special Education rules regarding confidentiality.”

When it comes to crisis drills Black reports that policies cover what students’ parents are told related to the drills.

Assistant principal Ryan Muhlig is in charge of crisis drills at the high school.

“If there was a situation that needed a lockdown, this is what I would follow: go to lock down, call 911. I am supposed to notify staff,” Muhlig said. “One of the first things I am going to do is call 911 and make sure everyone is safe. I call the district office, let them know, and then the guidelines talked about going to take shelter, dismiss school early, and follow the reunification plan,” Muhlig said.

One step is not on the list.

“To contact parents is not a top priority if it were a big-time lockdown,” Muhlig said.

Through a survey conducted on Facebook, parents were given the opportunity to rate and comment on how well they feel schools communicate.

“I feel as parents, we should know immediately. Sometimes messages are sent out later in the evening on something that happened during the school day, sometimes no messages are sent,” a parent said.

Many comments addressed the rumor of a student being tased in the hallway.

“In my 20 years, no one has ever been tased in this school. We did have a kid that got thrown down, and he was kind of resisting, and then the kid did got caught with pills,” Muhlig said.

Some parents feel they should know when things happen regarding law enforcement.

“I feel that certain things that happen, like arrests and drugs, should be told to us. Also, if a child is being searched, a parent should be notified. These things do not even get brought to our attention,” one parent said.

Other parents also feel that the district does not tell the whole truth.

“The administration filters information and delays communication to whitewash the story,” one parent said.

Muhlig said it is a hard line on what to communicate and what to not.

“I try to keep things pretty quiet and on the other side, I think parents need to know some things, but it is a tough one for me,” Muhlig said.

For most parents, communication is all about safety.

“I don’t need names of people involved, I just want to know my kid is safe,” one parent said.

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About the Writer
Lindsay Baugher, Managing Editor

Lindsay Baugher (12) is in her second year on the Newspaper Staff. This is Baugher’s first year being a Managing Editor, while last year she was the...

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Parents want more communications from school