, Salem, MA

October 16, 2013

Salem school district apologizes for 5:30 a.m. automated message

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — Several thousand Salem Public Schools parents got an unexpected wake-up call on Columbus Day as the district inadvertently sent out a 5:30 a.m. automated message about bus registration.

The employee who set up the message mistakenly entered a.m. instead of p.m. for the message’s 5:30 scheduled release, said Superintendent Stephen Russell.

The district received complaints and has posted an apology on its Facebook page.

“It was intended to be a helpful reminder, although the hour in which it was delivered wasn’t helpful,” Russell said yesterday.

Parents need to sign up for school bus passes by tomorrow if their child is going to continue to ride the school bus, Russell said. The message was meant to be an evening reminder before students returned to school yesterday after the Monday holiday.

The content of the message has been posted on the district’s Facebook page for those who missed it, Russell said.

The messages go to “several thousand” people, Russell said.

Residents can add or remove themselves to the list of those who receive automated messages from the Salem Public Schools on the district’s Web page, (click on the blue square that reads “subscribe to alerts & notices” on the left side of the page).

“Our apologies to families who were woken up earlier than usual this holiday morning by a poorly timed automated call meant to remind families to sign up for bus passes,” the district posted on its Facebook page Monday. “The automated system typically works well to keep families informed about key issues in a timely way; unfortunately this morning’s call was scheduled to occur on the wrong day and time. We hope you were all able to get back to sleep!”