Monday, November 8, 2010

School Robocalls

I know I vowed to not be a B this year at my kids' school, but I have my limits. Sometimes, it's truly necessary and appropriate to come out with your B flag flying.

Last year, our school district switched their phone systems, and seemingly at the same time, their method of Robo-calling. You know what I'm talking about...the recorded messages to let you know about school spirit days or that the school is under lockdown and to come pick up your kid with a hazmat suit.

And generally, I'm home to receive these calls, which is great. Hey, anytime the school comes up on the caller ID and it's not a live voice, it's good. (Seriously, when Larry Potter was in kindergarten and the phone rang with the school on the caller ID, I answered and when his teacher said hello back, I said in my scariest voice "What did he do?") 

But when I'm not home or happen to be unavailable (read: asleep or in the can) and Robocall leaves a message, it's not a real message. Instead of hearing about the lame awesome party coming up for those that sold their quota, I get "Your call has been placed on hold for up-to two minutes."

It's obviously only your phone that I can't leave a message on.

And now, the fun part. That's fun in quotation marks. If Robocall doesn't get a live person, it calls until it does...until it hits four or five times. Then it gives up. And each time it calls, I get the "Your call has been placed on hold for up-to two minutes" message.

So, so far, that's four or five messages, in a 45 minute timespan, right? Did I mention that I have two kids at the school?

This morning, there were EIGHT non-messages on my voicemail. Because we dared to be driving back from my dad's house while they called.

Last year, I called the school office and complained. And it kept happening. So I wrote a letter to the editor in our local paper about it. Then, I had the district business manager call and kiss my ass smooth things over with me. She told me that they use a company out of Atlanta for their automated calls and that they haven't had any complaints from any other parents.

After seconds hours of hard investigative research, Business Manager (BM...ha) determined that it must be my phone service and I should call my carrier. Except I don't exactly have an anomaly of a phone carrier...around here it's either Charter or Verizon, and I have Charter. And I'm sure I'm the only one in the whole district who does. Right?

And the whole I-have-two-kids-in-your-school-so-I-get-twice-as-many-calls? It's not possible, says BM. It's a good thing she's not teaching sex-ed, because I'd hate to have a bunch of girls get pregnant because the BM told them that "it's not possible" to get pregnant the first time. Hey BM--if it's not possible, why is my voicemail filling up.

So this year, it starts happening, and I ignore it because I'm trying not to be a pain-in-the-ass parent. But then my friend tells me that she gets the same thing. And then I don't get a Robocall message. Again. And it may or may not have been a PMS kind of day. So I called.

And I was told with an exaggerated sigh that there's nothing she can do and it's just me. When I told BM that it wasn't just me, she asked why she hadn't gotten any calls about it. I said, before I could stop myself, that maybe it's because people would get the runaround, like I did.

There was silence.

And I then I said it was the school's responsibility to make sure I, as a parent, was notified of anything going on at the school - emergency or otherwise.

She said she'd get back to me.

Fast forward to this morning and my 8 messages, all of which are on-hold somewhere in the universe. I left BM a message. I also looked up the state statute on phone harassment. Perhaps I married the two.

I'm still waiting for a phone call back.

(Aren't you glad I'm not in your school district?)


  1. Oh no, Woman. If anything is snark-worthy, that is. May those who ignore your pleas develop a few nasty, painful crotch zits.

  2. Geez louise -- all that and they don't just use email?

  3. Huge pet peeve of mine. I had to resort to posting on the district's Facebook page because everyone keeps ignoring my passive-aggressive scribblings on my son's Emergency card to leave me off of the robo-calls unless it's an emergency.

    BTW, my son was in 4th grade last year...and I got a robo-call saying that he was absent. The call came in at about 1:00 p.m. He could have been in Canada by then. Turns out the system went haywire and called virtually every student in the school. I about had a heart attack. That kind of call should always be made by a human being. Awful.