Tewksbury school apologizes for false automated calls
TEWKSBURY, Mass. (WHDH) -- A glitch in a Tewksbury school’s automated messaging system sent parents into a panic after it called students’ homes to confirm the child was sick.
It's an automated phone call parents are used to hearing:
"This is the Heath Brook Elementary School calling. Your student Ryan David Taylor has been reported absent by their homeroom teacher."
But Ryan's mom, Diane, was confused -- she knew her son was at school.
“At first, I just assumed it was a mistake but then when I couldn’t get through I kind of panicked,” said Diane Taylor.
Taylor wasn't the only parent who got that confusing call. In fact, according to the Tewksbury superintendent every parent got that automated call instead of the five who really had absent children.
“Parents stared freaking out and screaming lots of tears because they thought where is my child,” said Lauren Stewart, a concerned parent.
After Stewart got the call, she rushed to the school -- so did many other parents.
In fact, police say the 911 system was inundated by panicked parents, so they sent cruisers to the school.
“They blocked off the entrances so the parents who hadn't gotten here yet saw the police not letting people they lost it. Cars were everywhere it was kind of crazy,” said Stewart.
The superintendent says he was there and apologized to the parents who were able to see their children.
He's investigating whether human error or a software issue led to the chaos.