House Passes Bill Requiring Student Communications to Include Parent

Mar 06, 2024
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, on Wednesday passed a bill in the House that would require school personnel engaging in electronic or digital communication with a student to include the student's parent or guardians.

Exceptions to House Bill 3958 may be made in case of an emergency, subject to subsequent notification to the parent or guardian. The measure stipulates that school personnel shall make reasonable efforts to use school-approved platforms, systems, or applications that allow automatic inclusion of parents or guardians in communications with students.

"This protects our students from receiving anything inappropriate from an educator," Conley said. "It also protects our educators from any potential accusation of impropriety. This also ensures parents and guardians remain apprised of communications related to their child's education."

HB3958 specifies that schools shall provide training, developed by the State Department of Education, for school personnel on the student communication requirements within the act.

Any school personnel reported to be in violation of the new act shall be put on administrative leave while the school district investigates the incident and notifies the local and state boards of education.

If the investigation finds no misconduct occurred, the school personnel shall be reinstated and a written warning of the incident shall be included in the employee's file. If the investigation finds misconduct occurred, the school personnel's employment shall be terminated, and the incident shall be reported to law enforcement pursuant to state statute.

The legislation contains an emergency clause, meaning it would take effect after being signed into law.

HB3958 now moves to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond. Pugh serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal