Email Rules to Live By
Email can be both a blessing and a curse in communicating with schools about our children’s needs. On the one hand, it gives us the ability to receive important school documents electronically, so we can easily save and store them. It can also be a very effective way to document conversations and events that would otherwise go unrecorded. On the other hand, sometimes an email sent too quickly can create a permanent electronic record of something said inappropriately or by mistake. Keeping a few simple rules in mind when communicating with your child’s school can help you avoid crucial email missteps:
- Sandwich the Substance. Make sure to start and end your email with pleasantries, documenting your concerns in the middle. This sets a positive tone while still accomplishing your goal of establishing a written record of what has transpired.
- Don’t Send Mad. If you are mad at the school for something that transpired with your child, wait before sending an email. If you have to draft the email in order to get some of your thoughts out of your head and on the electronic “page,” do not enter the recipient’s email address in the draft until you have taken some time to cool down.
- Limit Numbers. Sending too many emails can send the wrong message, especially when later viewed by an independent hearing officer who may consider too many emails to be overly burdensome on the school system. Do not allow email to become a back and forth over one issue of disagreement – these conversations may be better suited to phone or in-person meetings.
- Know Personal vs. Professional. Even if you are friends with staff at your child’s school, take care not to send personal emails to their school accounts. Most school district email accounts are not the personal property of the employees, and if a dispute arises between you and the school, all of those emails could be accessed by administration. Better to limit friendly conversations to personal email accounts.
By Caitlin McAndrews, Esq., McAndrews Law Offices, P.C.