Mistaken alert from Ohio school tells wrong parents their kids are absent; school apologizes

An Ohio middle school says human error caused parents to be mistakenly alerted that their fifth- and sixth-graders were absent.

School officials in the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg says parents were "understandably upset" after being alarmed unnecessarily on Thursday.

Parents of students at Waggoner Road Middle School received an automated call around noon that their children were missing. The school's phone lines became overwhelmed with calls, and some frantic parents showed up at school.

District spokeswoman Tricia Moore says the mistake occurred while a staff member was being trained how to use the alert system. Moore said Friday the calls reached families of 82 students, out of about 500 total.

She says parents were then sent calls telling them to disregard the earlier message.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

(This version CORRECTS that families of 82 students were mistakenly called, not families of all students.)