A Parent's Guide to School Safety Toolkit

2.7 Parent (or Guardian) Notification

Parent on a cell phone waiting for notifications

If an emergency takes place at your child’s school, how you are notified depends on the district’s communication technology and infrastructure, and the school district’s policies on mass communication. Mass communication, or notifying all parents of what is taking place, can occur due to early release because of inclement weather, an active threat at the school, violent activity, or some other type of emergency. As a reminder, your child’s school needs to have current, working contact information for you, including your cell phone numbers and email addresses, so that they can quickly notify you of emergencies.

Understandably, in a school emergency, the first instinct is to rush up to the school to pick up your child. However, the best action you can take is to stay close to your phone and email and monitor local radio and TV reports for regular updates and instructions. Some school districts have a social media presence, which they may use during emergencies to push out information to followers or subscribers.

Does my child’s school have a streamlined notification system for communications? When are families notified of an imminent threat to student safety?

The Texas Education Code states that school districts must include in their EOP the communication measures they have in place and ensure that they are adequate both in technology and infrastructure. This technology and infrastructure must include the ability to provide immediate notification to parents and guardians involving a significant threat to the health or safety of their child.

TEA requires each district to adopt standards for mass notification to parents and guardians regarding violent activity that might take place or has occurred at a school district campus or district-sponsored activity. The standards must include electronic notification through text messaging and email, have an option for real-time notification, while also protecting student privacy.

What Should My Child Know?

You will be notified if there are any significant threats to their health or safety, and schools have plans in place to prevent school attacks.

The importance of your child reporting all concerning behaviors. (See Section 2.9 School Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management for more information.)

Their phone needs to be silent for any active threat situations, and that they should avoid contacting the media for safety reasons.

Will I be notified if my child is the subject of a school behavioral threat assessment?

Before a team conducts a school behavioral threat assessment, the team must notify the parent or guardian of their intent to conduct the assessment. The district must provide an opportunity for the parent or guardian to participate in the assessment process by providing information either in person or remotely. This opportunity to participate and provide information is met through the act of the parent or guardian being interviewed by the threat assessment team during the threat assessment process.

Other than choosing to participate in your own child’s interview, this law does not grant a parent or guardian the right to be present for any other part the threat assessment process, to ensure the confidentiality and safety all students and staff.

After completing the threat assessment, the team must provide the team’s findings and conclusions to the parent or guardian.