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Pinellas school district sends calls to parents in error

Oops. Double oops.

An employee at the Pinellas school district sent an automated phone message Friday to thousands of parents and staffers, reminding them about a fingerprinting appointment. But there was one big problem: They didn't have a fingerprinting appointment.

The message, at 11:12 a.m., was supposed to go only to employees in the maintenance department, who are being re-screened as required by state law. That's oops No. 1.

Oops No. 2: A second inadvertent message went out while the district was working with its phone message contractor to send out a new message saying the first should be ignored. The second message, sent about noon, was actually an old message that had something to do with purchasing cards, said district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn.

Confused yet? So were a whole bunch of parents and employees, who flooded the district's communications office with calls.

Many teachers were also alarmed by corresponding e-mails that said "Emergency Communication" in the subject line, said Kim Black, president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association.

"My phone has been burning off the hook," Black said. Teachers are saying, "Here it is another mistake (at the district). It's like, what is going on over there?"

The district finally and successfully sent out a third, clarifying message at 1:26 p.m.

"This was human error," said Zahn, who noted it was Friday the 13th. "We appreciate the patience of our parents and staff members, and we apologize for any inconveniences this might have caused."

Pinellas school district sends calls to parents in error 11/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 13, 2009 10:39pm]
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