Take a Pass on SchoolMessenger - Consider Competitors First
April 16, 2021

Take a Pass on SchoolMessenger - Consider Competitors First

Lisa Gonzales | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 2 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SchoolMessenger

SchoolMessenger was used by our 30,000 student school district in over 53 schools in the Silicon Valley. We started using them in 2009. In the late summer of last year we identified the process to notify parents of how to opt into text messaging so we could better communicate with parents during the pandemic, especially since we were rooted in distance learning to start the year. I found it challenging to communicate with their staff because I could not directly call a person - we were required to call into a central number and each time I'd talk to a different person. As a result, I took copious notes and documented who I talked to every time.

We walked through the steps that SchoolMessenger explained to have parents opt in. We messaged our community like crazy for two straight weeks so we were ready to go with parent opt-ins for our major upload of all parent contact information. SchoolMessenger had previously coordinated with our SIS, as it is a big name company.

About two weeks after the upload, parents notified me that they were able to view information about other students, their contact information, their parents information, etc. We had a major data breach that took place. Their customer service team wasn't helpful and tried to blame it on our database administrators, but research by their staff and our database administrators showed they didn't properly write the code to match the parent contact info during the upload. Our school board was upset. Our parents were very angry. When we asked for a refund and tried to switch to another company, they stopped communicating with us. I do NOT recommend SchoolMessenger at all. Their customer service is awful, the didn't properly protect student and family information, and they played the blame game throughout.
  • It is widely used.
  • Customer service.
  • Knowing how to manage the data integration process.
  • Ethical behavior.
  • Home to school communication.
  • Centralized messaging.
  • Lost the confidence of families that we were protecting their data.
  • Refused to refund our funds after they released confidential information.
  • Required extensive resources to find another product.
When we had to find a replacement, as SchoolMessenger lost its reputability in our parent community, we looked at and selected Parent Square. This competitor came with multiple languages and translation services, top notch customer service, and a breadth of additional features that we cannot even use at this time. Due to the issues we had with SchoolMessenger, Parent Square assigned a district rep to address any communication with our staff and that approach has been exceptionally effective.

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SchoolMessenger used to be a good product for home to school communication. However, if it can't properly integrate with big name, run of the mill student information systems, they really have no business being recommended or used by school districts. Allowing data to be released to parents about other students and parents is what every school district needs to protect against. Would not recommend them for any communication that needs to integrate with any other systems. There are plenty of other competitors out there who provide more responsive customer service and support.