• More than 300 families received false alert their child wasn't at school


    TEWKSBURY, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – The automated phone message which was supposed to be delivered to five Tewksbury families alerting them that their children were not in school, instead it went to 325.

    Mothers, fathers, even relatives of students at Heath Brook Elementary School were told their children never showed up for homeroom.

    Erin Knyff received a call that her daughter, who is in the first grade, was not at school.

    "They do go out to the playground to play so it was a little nerve-racking thinking did something take her from the playground," Knyff said.

    Panicked parents flooded the main office with calls, but with so many trying to get through most just got a busy signal, over and over again.

    While some parents raced to the school, others called 911.

    The Tewksbury Police Dept. said it was overwhelmed with calls from concerned parents.

    "I called the police. I had them meet me here, they were here and I just ran in and said I want to see my daughter. They let me go down to her class and the kids were all fine," Cheryl Keefe, a concerned parent, said.

    Reached by phone, School Superintendent Dr. Joseph O'Connor says the mass robo-call was a serious mistake. He says the school only recently began using the alert system. He believes one of two things triggered it.

    "A. There was a software glitch that we were not aware of or there was a human error setting up the list and tagging which groups of families were to be notified," O'Connor said.

    Within a half hour of the initial notification, parents got an email and another robo-call explaining what had happened.

    Parents were invited to check on their kids and dozens did.

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