Red Apple Mom

January 19, 2011

Ring Ring…

Last week, a father in a nearby school district got his 15 minutes of fame in the Washington Post for phone pranking his local school board.  He was upset when the school district sent out an automated “robocall” at 4:30am to announce the cancellation of school due to snow.  So the next day, he prepared his own “robocall” for School Board members – giving them his own personal version of a 4:30am wake-up call.

Did he go too far with his phone prank?  Opinion is divided, but I’m firmly in the disapproval camp.  While I appreciate this father’s attempt at humor, it just appeared so unprofessional, childish and somewhat mean-spirited.

Was it foolish for the school district to robocall parents at 4:30 in the morning?  Without a doubt – yes!  But wasn’t this father also foolish?  What kind of lesson has he taught his children with his phone prank?  Was this the best role-modeling to demonstrate?   I don’t think so.

What would I have done?  I would have brought the issue up to my School Board members at a public meeting with my children in attendance.  If I wanted to inject humor into it, maybe I’d do a takeoff on the Progressive Soup commercials.  I’d bring in two tin cans tied with string and I’d play out the the following script:

Ring Ring – Hello School Board members?  I love our schools, but your robocall notification for school closures SUCKS – kind of like this crappy string and tin-can phone that I’m using to make my point.”

Ok – that approach might be bad role-modeling for kids too.  Here’s a better solution:  Why not play the offensive Robo-call for the School Board members at a public meeting and then ask them, “Kindly raise your hand if you think it is appropriate to send this Robo-call at 4:30am and keep your hand raised if you would like me to send it to you tomorrow morning at 4:30am.”

In taking this approach, this father’s point would have been made professionally.  It wouldn’t have made headlines in the Washington Post, but his point would probably still have resonated with Board members and resulted in the same outcome for ending 4:30am robocalls.  Most importantly, the father would have demonstrated to his children how adults should behave when they are trying to effect change in their school districts.

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