First of all we would like to say “bravo” to the Sag Harbor School District for the implementation of video on their website. It is an innovative step in the right direction.
At the same time, however, we find it puzzling that a school district which is so forward thinking in its efforts to become technologically advanced has taken so long to fix a serious district-wide phone issue.
Twice, we can understand the phones going out, three times maybe even, but every time the wind blows? Seriously, a functioning phone system is a necessity for a district with nearly 1,000 students. Not only is it important that parents be able to reach staff and, in turn, their children in the event of an emergency during the course of the school day; but how can any business, let alone the biggest employer in the village, function with a non-working telephone system?
Technology is frustrating at times, we understand that. There may be things that we don’t quite get or aren’t able to interpret without a professional; but when do we say enough is enough and ask that the problem be attended to with some real immediacy?
We learned this week that parents have been calling each other trying to find out where the problem lies. On the website, there are emergency contact numbers in case the system is down. These are actually the cell phones of people in the school offices. But unless you are a parent trying to get a message to your child, you are at a dead end. Everyone else hoping to conduct any other business with the district is out of luck when they call these emergency contact numbers. We would like to know how the school’s business offices are handling this problem. What happens if a call from the new potential phone provider is unable to get through, to say nothing of a real emergency situation at the school such as a lock down which did, in fact happen at Pierson High school just a year ago? At times like this, open lines of communication are not only important, they’re vital.
So the problem is said to be caused by rain and wind getting into the system. What happens if the rain and wind last more than a day? What about if the school is used as a shelter for those fleeing hurricanes or other emergency events?
The district assures us they’re working on it, but until the phone system debacle is sorted out, we think that the district needs to come up with a more acceptable alternative. A series of cell phones, perhaps, that can be called not just by parents, but any member of the public who has business with the school district. If it involves putting a few administrative employees in charge of answering these cell phones and relaying messages to the appropriate departments, so be it. After all, it’s not like these people’s desk phones will be ringing off the hook.
We’d also like to see the district offer a decent explanation on the website as to what the actual problem is with the phone system. That would help alleviate the other game of telephone, which is going on around town in which parents are calling one another to figure out what’s going on. Not an ideal situation, we assure you.
So with the new year come hopes of a new school phone system to go along with it. We only pray that the problem will be alleviated by the end of the month. Stay tuned.