Advertisement

Letters to the Editor

Calling trees?

May 15, 2007

Advertisement

To the editor:

In the May 13 Journal-World article "District to consider emergency notification options," school Superintendent Randy Weseman stated that a system that could notify parents of school closings and various types of emergencies would cost $30,000 with $6,000 in yearly maintenance, and states that this is a bargain.

Whatever happened to calling trees? This is simple, effective, does not rely on electronics, gets the word out immediately and there are no costs involved. This is an option that wasn't discussed in the newspaper article.

Robert Biszantz,

Lawrence

Comments

mom_of_three 7 years, 7 months ago

Calling trees?? Some of those complaining about the lack of communication were parents out the door before it was announced on tv, and you think a calling tree would work. Most of those parents wouldn't be home, and wouldn't be communicated to..... The parents with kids at 3 schools would have to figure out who they were calling when..... And what about the parents who opt out of providing information to others because of personal and security issues.....

The school district has all the information, it wouldn't be distributed to others, and it's a useful tool.

Eric Beightel 7 years, 7 months ago

Text messaging is the answer. Almost everyone has cell phones and can receive text messages. If, by chance, they do not have a cell phone, text messages can still be delivered to land lines using an automatically generated message. It's immediate, effective and low cost. Ask KUSports.com how much it costs to send out SMS messages to fans of KU basketball and/or football during games (granted, their SMS messaging system leaves a bit to be desired). E-mail is another quick and damn near free option. Once students enroll in school, they are required to provide emergency contact information. That information could(should) include parents e-mail (possibly including work addresses for emergency notifications). This information would then be loaded into a mail distribution list and kept until such time as it was needed.

I understand that not everyone has a computer or a job with an e-mail address or a landline or a cell phone. But those people who are so far removed from the "global community" wouldn't benefit from any other widespread notification network anyway.

prioress 7 years, 7 months ago

Calling trees only work if you know everyone is home to receive their call and make their assigned calls to those 'on the lower branches.' This system can be effective and is used in other schools. Of course, another alternative is for parents to suck it up, stop panicking over every incident and let their kids grow up a bit and accept the world's risks and problems.

Laura Watkins 7 years, 7 months ago

calling trees only work if you have 20 people in a system. that sounds incredibly unreliable to me. the residence halls at ku have a calling tree system in case of inclement weather and even that didn't work all of the time (people forgetting to call, etc.).

Ragingbear 7 years, 7 months ago

Schools typically like to wait until the last minute. I remember as a child that I would be waiting at a bus stop on a snowy day for the bus when somebody would come out and say "They just announced on the TV that your school is closed today." The time would be 7:45, school officially started at 8:00.

Perhaps if they stopped the entire attitude of "I don't get paid until 8am, so I ain't doing any work until 8am" is what causes it.

Perhaps if they would just announce it early enough for our pathetic news programs to announce it? You know, where you watch it for an hour and they mumble something about it in the middle of their sports announcements?

OfficeGirl 7 years, 7 months ago

If these systems really cost so much to start up and maintain, Lawrence should surely be able to afford one. Eudora and Ottawa both have them and they aren't as big as Lawrence so I would think that their budgets aren't as big either. And then there are priorities on how the $$ is spent. There are way too many kids in this district to entertain the thought that a calling tree would even knock a dent in notifying everyone who would need to be notified in the event of an emergency. It would be totally inadequate--too little, too late. That would really irritate the parents.

Kathy Getto 7 years, 7 months ago

prioress (Anonymous) says:

Calling trees only work if you know everyone is home to receive their call and make their assigned calls to those 'on the lower branches.' This system can be effective and is used in other schools. Of course, another alternative is for parents to suck it up, stop panicking over every incident and let their kids grow up a bit and accept the world's risks and problems.


Agreed. If they don't feel their children are safe in the public school, homeschool and shut up.

letsgetwise 7 years, 7 months ago

I also think a calling tree could work. It would not be infallible, but you are right that about 20 or so people should be a manageable amount. If each home room had a parent that could take charge of either calling all there, or perhaps calling 4 or so people who would call 4 or so people it could be done. It would take organization and a willingness on parents part to help out. There could be issues with the whole privacy thing, and understandably so, but perhaps those could be the on a list that only school personnel have access to. Also, the idea that phone trees won't work because parents won't be home, how would an automated system have any better success? If there's no one there, then there's no one there. I'm assuming parents have alternate numbers to be reached at, or emergency numbers to call. Nothing is perfect, but calling trees would be less expensive. If we have the money in the budget, then so be it, but so far, I'm supposed to pay for bus fee, pay to play fees, activity fees, alternate activity fees, etc., etc.....I keep being told there is no money in the budget.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.