They have our number and there is no escape

September 25th, 2007

The Pearland Independent School District (PISD) seems to have acquired a new toy over the summer. It’s an automated messaging system, programmed with the phone numbers of every student in the district. It is the modern equivalent of those mimeographed announcements we used to take home to our parents. PISD is using it for every possible type of announcement: back to school greetings, school photo days, meet the teacher night, PTA meetings, etcetera, etcetera. Both the high school and junior high school are using it.

The strange thing about it is that it doesn’t seem to want to talk to me The phone will ring, I will answer it, and hear nobody there — no recorded voice, nothing but silence. I’ll hang up. A few minutes later I’ll get an email from Vonage telling me that we have a new phone message. I play the message and I get the greeting “Hello, parents, this is ______ ________, Principal of Pearland Junior High West…”

This is not the first time I’ve noticed this kind of odd behavior from automated messaging systems. The Fondren Orthopedic Group, the doctors who put my shoulder back together, have a system that they use to remind patients of appointments. I never did get to hear it, because it was shy and wouldn’t talk to me, but it would leave messages. The PISD system isn’t quite as shy, because it does sometimes talk to me, but usually it prefers to leave a message.

I don’t mind the system’s shyness, but the constant barrage of messages from the schools is going to drive me nuts. They’ve got a new toy, and they’ve got to play with it. I’m hoping they’ll get tired of it soon and quit using it so much. But I’m not counting on it.

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