A McCarver Elementary School parent prompted an investigation by Tacoma Public Schools officials after she reported getting inappropriate messages from a phone app used by teachers.
The app, ClassDojo, is a commercial product that allows teachers to send electronic messages to parents about their students. The app’s website notes that “teachers can encourage students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, being kind, helping others or something else.”
The mother told a Q13 television reporter she initially received positive reports about her daughter for being responsible and persistent. But over the weekend, negative messages about her child showed up in the ClassDojo app.
The News Tribune was not able to reach the mother.
Officials: The negative messages came from someone trying to impersonate a teacher on social media.
School district spokeswoman Kathryn McCarthy said Tuesday that the district’s technical team was still looking into the matter.
She said the negative messages were sent from a fake account set up by someone pretending to be a teacher. She said the district’s technicians were still working to determine if the fake account was set up by a Tacoma student.
McCarthy said that the district had not heard similar complaints from other McCarver parents.
The school district initially asked McCarver teachers to stop using the ClassDojo app. A follow-up message that’s being sent to staff throughout the district will ask them to refrain from communicating with parents and students with electronic tools that have not been vetted through the school district. McCarthy said the district contracts with some vendors, and that it is able to archive messages sent through those channels.
McCarthy also said the district was talking to the company that offers the ClassDojo app, and that the parent has been contacted by school officials.