Jan 262018
 
 January 26, 2018  Youth & Schools

PogoWasRight.org recently linked to, and excerpted, an article that appeared on Boca News Now, called, Is your child’s teacher using Bloomz? It’s NOT Approved In Palm Beach County Schools.  Post-publication, BocaNewsNow apparently heard from Bloomz, and BNN issued a small update to their story. Bloomz also contacted this site and asked me to post their response. Rather than just do a small update, I am going to post Bloomz’s full response to BocaNewsNow’s article so that readers can form their own conclusions .

To PogoWasRight,In relation to your recent post, we have reached out to Boca News Now to request corrections to its article, “Is Your Teacher Using Bloomz? It’s NOT Approved in Palm Beach County Schools.” We were never contacted for comment or information prior to its publication, as is standard journalistic practice, and the article contains factual errors and misleading information.

We take student privacy and security very seriously, and we work hard to safeguard student and parent information.

Since you reference excerpts from the Boca News Now article that are incorrect, we kindly request that you update your post to reflect the facts. Listed below are the errors in the article excerpts (in quotes) with the corresponding facts, including citations where appropriate, in bold text. Please issue these corrections on your post as soon as possible.

– “…Bloomz presents a “back channel” communication tool that isn’t monitored by, and can’t be accessed by, administrators, principals…”

This is not true. Bloomz is a mobile and web app that educators, including teachers, administrators, principals, and any other school administrator with permission (i.e. approved by the school administrator) can access from their browser or phone, to communicate with parents in a private and secure way. School administrators can request school access to Bloomz and, after verification, they can monitor anything posted in their school’s digital classrooms. 

A principal doesn’t need to be invited by the teacher to get access from Bloomz. The invitation that is quoted in the article from our FAQ’s is only one way a teacher can invite an administrator to the classroom without an administrator account, but the principal can always request access, which is free.

– “…teachers are storing confidential student information in the app which may be used by Bloomz for marketing purposes, potentially violating FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Calendars, photos, testing schedules, lists of students completing field trip permission slips, even photos and videos are being posted online by teachers with no guarantee of privacy or confidentiality.”

As stated in article 6 of our Terms of service, Bloomz complies with FERPA regulations, and per our Privacy Policy, Bloomz also complies with COPPA regulations. Also in our terms is stated that “Education Records are never used or disclosed for third-party advertising or any kind of first- or third-party behaviorally-targeted advertising to students or parents.” Furthermore, our guarantee of privacy and confidentiality is clearly stated in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. To be clear, We will never target advertisements to students or sell students’ personally identifiable information to third parties for any purpose.

Also, please note that Boca News Now quoted a paragraph from our Privacy Policy (“We provide personal information to nonaffiliated companies that we engage as contractors or agents to perform services…”) without adding the context provided in two paragraphs above“We do not sell or disclose your personally identifiable information to nonaffiliated parties except in connection with our services and the operation of our business as explained in this policy and our terms of service.” 

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