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Did You Just Call 911?

December 01, 2017
By Trinity Christian School
Did You Just Call 9-1-1?
Written by Nancy Keegan

I really enjoy my job. I’m entering my 10th year as the person at the front desk on the Makai Campus.  In the beginning, the Makai Campus only housed the 5th-8th grade.  We were really small, but each year the campus grew and will continue to grow as classes fill out and eventually double through all grade levels.

There is a pretty big leap from 3rd grade to 4th grade.  Not only do you change campuses but you are now going to school with some kids who are 18 years old!  In August, the 4th graders are so small but little by little they start to grow up.  Before you know it, your little 4th grader will be the big Senior! The students will grow in responsibility and autonomy every year.  In August of 4th grade, it might seem unimaginable that in a little over a year, you will say good-bye to your 5th grader as they head off to the Big Island with their class.  A huge rite of passage and a critical building block toward high school and eventually adulthood.

When students move to the Makai Campus things are done a little differently.  When you’re not feeling well, typically you will be instructed to call your parent to let them know the situation and together you can make a decision if you should stay in school.  Some points are non-negotiable (fevers and vomiting), but as you get older, a student and their parent need to weigh out the cost vs. benefits of missing school.  To talk to your parent, a student needs to learn phone etiquette and simply how to use a phone.  It is not as easy as it sounds, most kids have not used a land line, they’ve grown up with only a cellular phone.

Me:  Pick up the phone, dial nine then your mom’s number.
Student:  Where’s the back button?
Me:  There is no back button, you hang up and start all over.
Student:  They didn’t answer.
Me:  Leave a message, so your mom doesn’t wonder why the school called.
Student:  Now what do I do?
Me:  Hang up.
 

It is just basic skill building.  Funny story, if a parent has a non-Hawaii number you need to dial, 9, then 1, then the phone number.  One day a student looks up at me and says, “I made a mistake, what should I do?”  I look down and see they dialed 9, then 1, then another 1.  Yikes!  I hang up the phone, hoping my quick reflexes were faster than the 9-1-1 operator.  They weren’t!  I’m not sure how 9 was chosen as the number to get an outside line.  I’m even more surprised I have not had this problem happen more than once.

As we grow these young 4th graders into mature TCS graduates, we will stumble occasionally, we will fall a few times, we will undoubtedly make tough decisions, and learn some hard lessons, but I think this is all pretty normal.  I had a wise mom say to me once, “Pray, that your child gets caught early and often.”  This is great advice.  I want my children to make mistakes and get caught now so we can guide them and help them to make better decisions as they get older.  Mistakenly calling 9-1-1 is a simple error, but most likely not one this student will repeat.

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