App to help Paducah parents monitor student communication with teachers

PADUCAH, KY-  How do teachers communicate with your child? That’s the question some of you asked after the announcement of an investigation into a former school athletic director.

Kris Garrett is accused of inappropriate communications with a minor with an electronic device at McCracken County High School.

One school district in our area is looking to protect both students and teachers through a new app.

Thousands of students walk school halls in Paducah Public Schools every day. The Pew Research Center says 88 percent of teens occasionally text their friends during school. Superintendent Donald Shively says that technology means schools have to keep up.

“The policies and procedures are the safeguards that guide us through how we should use technology with our students. But acceptable behavior — and unacceptable behavior with a student from adults — is something that has been placed through the professional code of ethics for decades,” Shively says.

Director of Pupil Personnel Troy Brock says an app the district will start using in March, Kinvo, will give parents the ability to see conversations between their children and teachers. He also says the app will protect everyone involved.

“It’s very important, and not in the sense that ‘Big Brother is watching’ as much as it is that level of accountability. It’s a new tool, and with that comes a learning curve for everybody, but I think ultimately, if it’s positive, if it creates and fosters family engagement between the home and the school, I think it’s movement in that direction,” Brock says.

Shively says your child’s safety is their top priority.

“It’s an improvement mindset. When we look at the tragedies that you see, you reflect constantly on: What do we have in place? How do we do this? How do we ensure it doesn’t happen?” Shively says.

The district plans to launch the Kinvo app next month. Brock says they’ve been in contact with the company that runs the app since early January.

Shively says the app does not replace their obligation by law to notify parents and police of major events that occur within the school system.

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