"Let Us Be Willing To Share With All Others,
That Which We Now Know."
If you know do you get involved? How far do you go?
Monday I received a robo call in error from the Renton School District about a child whose meal card was overdrawn. The teacher mumbled the child's name on the recording. As often as I listened, I couldn't get it. But I returned the call (from the number on my phone) and left my name and number, and told them they had the wrong number.
I heard back on Wednesday with another robo call with the same message. Shortly thereafter, around 5 p.m. I received a call that the child did not show up to school. I called back, and this time left the message "there's an emergency, you called and my child did not show up to school, and she's not home, please call me." I thought that would get them to call. But nothing.
When I awoke Thursday I called the number and connected with the Renton Central District office, not the school. A nice woman took the information, and wanted to know what school because they have 15,000 kids in the system. I said, "I don't know." She asked the child's name. "I couldn't understand." She asked, "What number do you have?" I gave her the number. She said, "But that's our number."
If there is a centralized data base calling, of course that would be the number on my phone. She said she would attempt to find the child and I had a lot of great ideas and she said the Community Relations Manager would love to hear them. My only idea was on the robo call, name the school and leave a number so the parent (or the wrong number recipient) could call and talk to a real person.
I was transferred to the "Community Relations Manager" and told him what happened, and my concerns.
There is a child out there, and he or she may not be eating, they did not show up to school and we don't know if the parents know because I'm getting the calls. Is this a grade school child? A high school student? (Meal card, I'm thinking younger.) Are we losing our children in the computer world? As long as teachers plug in names into the system they've done their job. My concern is about the child. Who is this child? Where is she? If I had the school name, and number on the message, I could have called the school directly, four days earlier, and solved the issue.
He assured me that this child was eating, that he was safe, and they did take the time to go to the homes and knock on the doors to make sure they are fine.
I asked, "How can you say that? You don't know who this child is. What grade. What school. If they came to school today, or not. Or if the parent is getting messages... maybe their phone is out." At this point, I lit his fuse.
Had he been across the street, I could have heard him. I actually had to take my headset out of my ear.
When I asked him to please lower his voice and there was no need to yell, he more or less said that he had spent too much time on the phone with me, and he couldn't get it into my head that there wasn't a problem. That was a paraphrase, because for the life of me I cannot remember his exact words.... far worse than this... but I hit that point were reality and disbelief connected and my brain shorted a circuited for a moment.
The problem I have with this situation is this man is the "Community Relations" manager, and I am just someone who had been called by accident, and took the time to follow through because I care about a children. Something is wrong here.
I told him he should get a different job, or go to school and learn how to speak to people.
The great news is, Elizabeth, the woman I first spoke to, called me and said she found the children, siblings, and she contacted their mother. This situation made me wonder... if we know something, do we take the time to get involved?
What would you have done if you received this call in error?
Do you get involved, or turn the other way?
When attacked for making an effort.. how do you respond?
Would you get involved next time if treated this way?
Is this the sad truth of our public school system? It makes me believe that we need more schools like the school in the movie Won't Back Down. A great and must see movie.
Enjoy the journey... and take the time to make a difference.