Arundel High bans commonly used app

(Photo courtesy of remind.com)

By Aubrey Bacon

During the second week of school, it was made apparent to teachers via email that they were no longer permitted to use the frequently used app, Remind, to send reminders or updates to classes and clubs.

  For the past three years, Arundel has utilized Remind to its full extent. Such uses include sending reminders about due dates for assignments and test dates, updates on classroom locations, and coordinating redos. This convenience became routine for both teachers and students. Its abrupt expulsion has caused both shocked and upset feelings.

Arundel High School assistant principal, Gregory Ryan, said that “the Remind app was not totally secure, and therefore unsafe to use.” But what exactly does this mean? Last year there was a situation where a phone number was added to a group and everyone in the group had access to everyone else’s phone number. This was seen as an issue because student contact information was being leaked without student permission.  

  According to the Remind privacy policy, they cannot fully guarantee that information that a person submits through the app will not be accessed by another user. At the same time, the app has been given an award for having high security, the iKeepSafe COPPA Safe Harbor seal. COPPA is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, established in 1998, which, according to the Federal Trade Commission, “imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age.”

Arundel’s ban on Remind has become a bother to teachers who constantly used the app to coordinate with their students effectively. This is especially true for teachers who are assigned multiple classrooms throughout the day. The same goes for teachers who do a lot of computer lab work. With Remind, they could send their whole class a message giving directions as to where class was and be sure that they were notified, thanks to Remind’s push notifications.

  Ultimately, the app ban was put into action to ensure the safety and security of personal student information. While the app does take precautions to do this, it is impossible for the school to monitor all the possible hacks that the app may endure. In this case, the school took a better safe than sorry approach.  

 According to the reviews and updates from The Ed Tech RoundUp,  Remind is trying a new feature that will “allow teachers to create chats with students and parents, so that messages can be safely exchanged.” This fix would help ensure that no student or teacher information is leaked or misused.