4/7/07

Boy jailed over clock change mix-up

PassablyNews.com - Boy jailed over clock change mix-up

After flushing the Intertubes once or twice one comes across several stories that, whether or not they're true, make you cringe like your mother said you shouldn't or your face would get stuck. This is one such story.

On March 11, the Hempfield Area High School in Greensburg, PA, received a bomb threat at 3:17 a.m. on their "student hotline." This special phone number is one that gives students various information that they happened to have forgotten or otherwise needed to know - snow days, musical dates, football times, those sorts of things.

When they traced the call, they found it to be the phone number of one Mr. Cody Webb, a 15-year-old who had never gotten in trouble at school a day in his life. Their interrogation methods were impeccable!

Principal: What's your phone number
Webb: 555-7392
Principal: (Standing up and waving arms) WE GOT HIM!! WE GOT HIM!!
Webb: Wait! What?? I didn't do anything!
Principal: "Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time."

Webb was promptly escorted out of the principal's office and into a juvenile detention facility where he stayed for 12 days until the school realized their blunder. You see, they had completely forgotten about the time change. The actual bomb threat was called in an hour after Webb had called, presumably perhaps to get some information on his homework or something, but the time change had caused the time stamps to place his call at the exact same time as the bomb threat.

So, who placed the bomb threat? This isn't reported. However, an interesting notice has showed up on the Hempfield Area School District website: "The Hempfield Area School District will no longer accept calls from phone numbers that have been blocked. If you have a blocked telephone number, you must remove this feature before placing the phone call to any of the school district buildings."

Now, I don't want to make a broad, sweeping generalization about all school systems, but it sure does seem like most of the public schools I ever hear about are the stupidest institutions of learning anywhere. Really, if we can't expect a principal to distinguish between a good boy and a criminal prank caller when one kid's record is a clean slate, another kid's call is blocked and the clock had just changed, how can we expect her to deduce what's right for the children to learn and how to learn it?

Luckily, this principal's email address is public record. Let her know you think.