Rochester, N.Y. – The Rochester City School District is publicly apologizing to the mother for an automated phone call that used a racial slur in place of her daughter's name.
The district said the issue was a software error with a vendor it contracts with. But the student's mother wants to know why the N-word was even in that company's computer system.
"Representatives from the district have talked with the family and apologized profusely, as we should,” said Lawrence Bo Wright, RCSD deputy superintendent of administration. “We can't say enough how sorry we are."
The mother of the Edison Tech student received a robo call two weeks ago when her daughter missed a day of school. That message said: “This is Edison Career & Technology High School. your daughter, N****r, has missed period 1."
"My child's name is Nicarri,” said Nicomi Stewart. “Her name should not be what it is in the system."
The district contracts with the company “Blackboard Connect" to send out mass notifications. The deputy superintendent said the software got it wrong.
"It's very similar to technologies that you use that are centered around GPS, where sometimes the system will have mispronounced a name,” Wright said. “And that's how that occurred."
Wright said the district has since removed the student's name from the automated calling system, and will contact the family through a phone call or email.
But Stewart said she's still receiving those calls, including one last night.
"They're making me look like I’m slightly bananas and lying about this, when they're saying they rectified something they haven't rectified yet,” Stewart said.
The district’s IT department is working with the company to figure out why Stewart is still receiving calls, so that it doesn’t happen again.