Rude awakening for sleepy U.S. students

CONWAY, Massachusetts Wed Mar 9, 2011 10:51am EST

Related Topics

CONWAY, Massachusetts (Reuters Life!) - Chronically tardy and truant students at a Massachusetts high school are getting a rude awakening -- a pre-recorded morning wake-up call from their school principal.

The so-called "robo-calls" that began on Wednesday are aimed at rousting about 500 students, the worst-offending sleepyheads, from bed and getting them to school on time.

"It's 6:15 and it's Durfee High School calling," booms the voice of Principal Paul Marshall of B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, according to Vice Principal Ross Thibault.

Robo-calls are typically used to notify parents of weather-related school delays and cancellations.

Durfee joins other U.S. schools in Massachusetts and Illinois and New York which have taken on the added role of alarm clock to combat high rates of tardiness and absenteeism.

In New York City the wake-up calls feature the voice of former professional basketball star Magic Johnson.

At Durfee High School in Fall River, about 46 miles south of Boston, 20 percent of the student body will be getting routine phone calls at home at 6:15 a.m. The school day's first class begins at 7:45 a.m.

Administrators hope the effort will boost attendance from 88 percent now to at least 95 percent.

"Historically, we have battled attendance problems. We are an urban district and our attendance has always been a concern," Thibault said.

The school resorted to the calls after failing to improve attendance with punishments like detention or enforced study hours at schools, he added.

(Reporting by Zach Howard; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton.)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (10)
AceofTunes wrote:
Maybe, just maybe if 7:45am wasn’t the start time, then maybe just maybe the students wouldn’t be f****** late!!!! I mean I for one know that my family doesn’t awake until after 7:00am I mean really, most jobs are 9-5m, 7 gives you plenty of time to get ready and leave. My job is 8:30-4:30. I get up at 7:45 to get ready for work. I am an adult. Teenagers need a bit more sleep and even more sunlight to get them out of bed. Start school at 8:30am.

Mar 09, 2011 3:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
hsvkitty wrote:
I agree with Aceoftunes. Teens hormonal imbalances mean they stay up later and wish to sleep in later. Their clocks are reset regardless of when you want them to be at class… so work with that as an experiment.

Classes at 7:45 means the school is using an excuse that does not bode well for student attendance… deal with that issue before expecting more of students. (says she who has a teen…)

Mar 09, 2011 5:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
hsvkitty wrote:
I agree with Aceoftunes. Teens hormonal imbalances mean they stay up later and wish to sleep in later. Their clocks are reset regardless of when you want them to be at class… so work with that as an experiment.

Classes at 7:45 means the school is using an excuse that does not bode well for student attendance… deal with that issue before expecting more of students. (says she who has a teen…)

Mar 09, 2011 5:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.