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Thursday, February 5, 2015

when a School wrongly sent messages to all parents !!!

In the broad  corridors of the Red Building of Hindu High School, the walk of the attender would attract the attention of students inside the class room – before it even sounds, some would ready to fly away….  It was the sweet sound of school bell – not physically bell – but that of a metal hammered with a wooden object, creating enough sound audible to the locality.  There was a Public address system too,  through which Morning prayer was heard and some important announcements would be made.

Many a schools have now adopted to technology and communicate to the students and their parents through e-mail and important announcements are posted on official website and other social media too.   What would be your reaction, if you get a phone call from the School where your son / daughter is studying !!

In the ever expanding Cities, some students travel a long distance and in different modes – public and private – and naturally, parents are worried of their children reaching school and returning home safely and in time.  There are some modern schools which send SMS to parents when a student is absent – sort of reconfirmation that the leave is known to parents !

Miles away in UK, at Wadebridge School, in Cornwall – a truancy text message sent shivers and made the parents panicky.  The Head teacher later apologised to all those who received the message.  MailOnline reports that hundreds of terrified parents were left panicking after a school wrongly reported their children were missing after accidentally sending them a bulk truancy text using its automated service. The parents of children at Wadebridge School in Cornwall received the text message saying their kids had not arrived for the day. But when they frantically called the school they were told the message had been sent in error.

Despite the school's initial claims there was an issue with its automated truancy service, it was later confirmed that the message was sent after a mistake was made by those operating the service. One grandmother said that her daughter, who has a child at the secondary school, had been 'frightened to death' by the text. She said: 'She went haring to the school. She thought something had happened to my grandchild. She's still in a state of shock now.'  Another parent was harried as the father who got the message was far away and the frightened mother had to run checking the safety of their son. 

To the other recipients of the message, it sparked off a big panic – with all  kinds of potential scenarios going through the head.  One said, I thought the bus might have crashed or someone might have grabbed him – all kinds of things were going through my mind. The phoneline of the school remaining continuously engaged added to the panic. 

Another mother, who asked not to be named, confirmed she had received the text alongside an apology approximately 20 minutes later. The Head teacher apologised to parents who received the text. She said the school uses electronic alerts if a child fails to arrive - but was 'completely unaware' of the problem until messages started to flood in. 'We use the 'Truancy Call' system to send a text to the parent or carer to alert them to a child being absent in the morning register,' she said. 'This will always take place before 11am. Parents and carers then text back at various points during the day to explain why.'

The letter stated that the Attendance Officer has to press the ‘refresh’ or ‘send/receive’ button at various points to check for new messages – but the system sent the automated text saying children were not in school. It concludes stating that they realise and understand the anxiety and worry that the message caused but it was something that they had no control – but will do everything possible to make sure that it does not happen again.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Feb 2015.

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