In most discipline cases, I prefer to e-mail parents. It's easier than trying to call because it's a 1 in 3 shot that I'll actually get someone on the phone instead of their answering machine. Also, an e-mail allows me to explain better. In this case, it has the added bonus of allowing me to send attachments.
Here's the form letter I worked up for today's need. I modified it for each student, but I plan on using as a template for future emails.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Parent:
Your son, Johnny, has been sending inappropriate online messages to other students in class. We have an online classroom, Moodle, which we use to complete all of our classwork. One of the features of Moodle is the chance to “instant message” other students in class. I frequently check the students’ messages, and when I checked Johnny’s today I found him using foul language and making suggestive remarks. I’ve attached a copy of the conversation so you can see what I’m talking about.
I have talked with him about it, and I’ve emphasized that it cannot happen again.
Tomorrow, I’m going to have Johnny complete a paper assignment about online etiquette and safe computer use. He will no longer be allowed to use instant messaging at all. He will also need to consistently show good behavior and earn back the 25 citizenship points he lost today.
If Johnny continues to use inappropriate language or ignores my instructions for not using the messaging, the next step is suspension from this class for one period and referral to the principal.
I know you are concerned for Johnny, and I know that you're working to help him succeed. I need your help now. Please discuss this with Johnny so we can see better behavior from him.
Please contact me if you have any questions, or would like to discuss this further.