As part of our overall plan to increase the safety for our students and staff in our schools we installed telephones in every classroom. This seems like a small thing but most of our schools did not have phones in the classroom and several of our schools have almost no cell phone service inside the school building. Therefore, with phones in the classroom, if an emergency occurs teachers or students can readily call 911 and response time should be decreased and no one needs to run to the office. Thus, this summer our phone system throughout the school district was replaced.
Early into this school year we had a young student at the elementary school call 911 from one of the phones. The phone was there, it was new, and 911 was a number the student knew. There was no emergency and the student knew that you never called 911 unless there was an emergency, but when questioned about the call the young student said, “I dialed 911 but I never hit send!”
In the world this young student has grown up in a phone call doesn’t go through unless you hit send. He didn’t realize that in these “old school” cable digital phones by just dialing 911 the call went through to emergency services. This was an honest mistake. He didn’t hit send! How was he to understand the call would go through?
Obviously this made me reflect a bit. How many of our students do things that seem to make perfect sense to them in the world our kids inhabit but seem totally foreign to those of us who grew-up with a phone in the kitchen and who remember when it was a big deal to get a cordless phone and an answering machine with a cassette tape? How often do we just misunderstand one another’s intentions because we come from different generations, we think a little differently, and we have different life experiences?
For most phone calls today you need to hit send. I hadn’t really stopped to consider that before but it’s obviously true. In light of this it would be positive for all of us to stop and consider that the actions that we are sometimes quick to see as misguided may simply be the result of having had different experiences than we ourselves have had. Different doesn’t make them wrong.
- Trent Bowers, Superintendent