School employs ‘robo calls’ to cut student tardiness

9 Mar 2011

Pre-recorded phone calls are now rousing US high school students from their slumbers in order to get them to school on time.

About 500 of 2,400 students at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts, USA, have begun receiving wake-up calls featuring their principal’s voice saying, “It’s 6.15 and it’s Durfee High School calling.” The principal’s voice then explains a student has been excessively late or absent, and requests them to arrive to school on time. The school’s first class begins at 7.45am.

The so-called “robo calls” are aimed to reduce truancy and tardiness among the worst offenders. The school’s administrators aim to increase attendance to at least 95pc. It is now at 88pc.

Previous punishments, such as detention or enforced study hours at school, failed to boost attendance, prompting the implementation of robo calls, vice-principal Ross Thibault told Reuters.

“Chronic tardiness and absenteeism is not tolerated in the world of work and will not be tolerated here as well,” a memo on the school’s website read.