No Snow Day? “Get over it, kid.”

by admin on December 27, 2010

This news story was originally published January 24, 2008 in the Washington Post newspaper.  Despite it being an event that occurred almost 3 years ago, the issues of privacy, harassment, public officials are still relevant today. Besides, I’m sorta snowed in today so the topic seemed quite apropos.

A student who called a school official’s home to ask why snow hadn’t closed schools got a frosty response – and created an online storm.

Last Thursday, the student, Devraj “Dave” S. Kori, 17, called the listed home phone number for Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer of Fairfax County, Va., schools, and asked why he hadn’t closed schools after an estimated 3 inches of snow fell.

Kori left his name and number, and Tistadt’s wife returned the call.  She apparently wasn’t pleased, judging by her taped message, which Kori posted on a Facebook page.

“How dare you call us at home!  If you have a problem with going to school, you do not call somebody’s house and complain about it,” Candy Tistadt snapped in her message.  She also used the phrase “snotty-nosed little brats,” and said, “Get over it, kid, and go to school.”

The message was also posted on YouTube.  Kori, who attends Lake Braddock Secondary School, did not immediately respond to an e-mail message Wednesday.

He told The Washington Post that he thought he had a right to ask a public official for more information about a decision that affected him and other students.  He also said his generation viewed privacy differently.

But Fairfax County schools spokesman Paul Regnier told the newspaper that Kori’s actions showed a gap in civility, saying any call to a public servant’s home was “harassment”.

Citizens do have a right to question their public servants *in the context of their work environment*.  Kori could have waited and called Dean Tistadt at his Fairfax County government office to inquire about the decision to not close schools and make his opinions known.  But once a public figure leaves the work environment and enters his/her domicile, all citizen rights to engage him/her about their job performance terminates.  A person’s home is their last refuge, their castle they rule and any notion that one has a right to invade that privacy with questions, demands, requests, protests, or any other disruptive behavior should be squelched as vigorously as possible.

Candy Tistadt has, no doubt, learned the foolishness of returning a harassing phone call and leaving a voicemail message.  If ignoring Kori’s phone message was not an option, reporting it to the proper legal or school authorities was the next step.    By returning the call, Candy Tistadt sunk to Kori’s level by conducting what should have been her husband’s school business from her home phone.

As for the younger generation’s blase attitude towards privacy…we’ll see how that changes over the coming decades when your foolish, youthful indiscretions start coming back to bite you on the butt.

{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

jenna December 27, 2010 at 10:36 am

Not totally on topic but I just want to note that I’m from New York State, so to me, the idea that school would be closed over 3 inches of snow is kind of hilarious. We’d have gotten a delay, for sure, but not a closure.

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thisisnotmyusername December 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

“reporting it to the proper legal authorities”
Really? Because a 17 year old called your house to ask a valid question concerning the safety of all the children in the district?

coming from a school district that constantly kept school open after bad weather, and got into at least 1 accident in each case, I can see where the kid was coming from. It might be terribly rude, but it in no way needs to be “reported”. That’s a bit extreme.

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admin December 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

If a minor-aged child called the private home of the school administrator to question school policy decisions, yes, I consider that inappropriate. The parents are responsible for the safety of their children and if they had concerns, they should have called during work hours to speak with the school superintendent.

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MJaye December 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

I live outside Philadelphia and agree that 3″ of snow is nothing, remember this is Virginia. I use to work for a company located in Fredicksburg and if they got an inch of snow, it was panic in the streets. They actually sent me home when there was a threat of snow. It made for a lot of mocking.

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Jen December 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

The phone call placed by the student is by far a greater etiquette blunder than the COO’s wife reaction. I can all but guarantee that the student did not make the phone call out of innocent curiosity. I am sure he was simply ticked off that he had to go to school. As a teacher, I know far too well the attitudes of students who thought they’d be off of school due to the weather and have to get out of bed and show up instead.

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The Elf December 27, 2010 at 11:23 am

Jenna, it’s DC metro area. We’ve closed for THREATS of snow without a single flake having been spotted. When I was a kid in DC area, we had a freak, unpredicted Veteran’s Day storm that dropped a lot of snow. They didn’t close schools until it was too late and as a result they had a lot of kids and teachers stranded at the schools. I gave up waiting for the bus that never arrived and walked home (6 miles). The school systems caught a lot of flack. Our area handles snow very badly, and it isn’t helped by the fact that we frequently get ice or “wintry mix” instead of actual snow. For the rest of my years in public school, they closed at the earliest indication of snow.

As for privacy….. I think I can give teenage Devraj a pass for not knowing any better, but his parents, not so much. I do think that privacy as a whole is going to the wayside as time goes on and eventually it’ll reach a breaking point and swing back.

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DCGirl December 27, 2010 at 11:28 am

I live in the Lake Braddock school district, so I was out driving the very same roads that the students at the high school had to use to get to and from school that day. I remember this incident vividly (it was a big news story in our area), and the roads were nowhere near bad enough to justify closing the schools.

@thisisnotmyusername There will always be accidents when the weather is bad. If the schools closed ever time there was bad weather, the kids would never go to school. If any parent disagrees with the school’s decision, they are free to keep their children home from school that day and to take it up with the school authorities.

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Michelle December 27, 2010 at 11:54 am

I am from the Twin Cities, and I can count on one hand–nay, one FINGER (not the “bad” one;)–the number of snow days we had in my entire school career. Three inches of snow is considered nothing worth closing the schools for, and although they grumble, the kids know it takes nothing short of a miracle for a “snow day.”

Calling a school official at home to complain? I agree with Jen–there was nothing “innocently curious” about that call; he was just ticked that he actually had to go to school. Furthermore, I found the “…his generation viewed privacy differently,” remark amusing/annoying at the same time. I COMPLETELY agree with our Admin: “…we’ll see how that changes over the coming decades when your foolish, youthful indiscretions start coming back to bite you on the butt.”

And they will.

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JS December 27, 2010 at 11:57 am

Leaving aside the question of whether or not the DC metro area school systems overreact to snow, I think both sides were in the wrong. Devraj was in the wrong in calling the superintendant at home for a matter that clearly didn’t warrant emergency action–if he wanted to contact the superintendant, he should’ve done so at work. And frankly, 17 is old enough to know better. Candy was in the wrong for wildly over-reacting–if you listen to her voicemail, she’s lashing out, and using insults to get her message across.

But, oh, Candy, how did you not know how badly this would end up for you and your husband? Badly played, ma’am.

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Louise December 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

You can listen to Candy Tisdaht’s complete message here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILwTcGNix00&feature=related

I’m not sure who I think is more in the wrong on this one. I would like to know how Dave Kori asked his question, because that’s a very vitriolic response. If Kori suggested Mr. Tisdaht is slacking or not doing his job, I think that’s rude and I can understand why Mrs. Tisdaht is so angry. If his message simply said, “I was wondering why we have to go to school today when there’s 3 inches of snow on the ground. I think these are dangerous travel conditions,” I’m less sympathetic to her.

Either way, Kori shouldn’t have called the administrator’s house. He should have gone to school and either he or his parents asked the question/lodged a complaint through the proper channels. I also think that Candy Tisdaht should have reined herself in. She lost her cool, and I think that was unwise considering who her husband is.

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Margaret December 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I’m with Jenna. THREE inches of snow? Good grief, sometimes I don’t even switch to winter boots when there’s only three inches of snow. That’s not even worth shovelling (or maybe I should say sweeping or brushing, because it’s not really shovelling if there’s nothing there). A foot of snow AND still snowing enough to reduce visibility to near zero, and then maybe the buses wouldn’t run, but the school would still be open.

I also agree that people need to show a little respect and common sense and not phone people at home if they have regular office hours during which they are reachable. I wouldn’t even phone a doctor at home unless there was a near death emergency and no other medical resources open.

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Kimberly December 27, 2010 at 12:14 pm

The wife of the official acted worse than the student. She called back and used abusive language to citizen – her husband’s boss. She should have just sent the message to her husband and let his office respond in a professional manner. Instead she took it upon herself to respond in an unprofessional manner. Since she was responding to a message left for a public official – the student was within his rights to publicize her unprofessional response. Kids that age can get very passionate about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. No he shouldn’t have called the person at home – but he doesn’t need to be called ugly names by a woman who needs to control her anger.

I remember the passion our Government Teacher stirred in the seniors. The kids I went to school with were some of the most apathetic you have ever met. We were covering the Bill of Rights and how to petition the government. So one day a bunch of senior boys were gathered behind Target (we were allowed to park back there by the store), the police told them they needed to leave.

The seniors started quoting the bill of rights (right to assemble) to them. The seniors claimed they were having a political meeting. The cops could have changed them with multiple crimes. Instead they laughed it off and explained the lot was private property and they were violating the agreement Target had with the school – and were blocking a delivery. The kids left

The next day Mrs. B went back over the Bill of Rights specifically the “Can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” type restrictions.
Honestly the H cops probably took that attitude because of the nature of the poltical meeting. The boys were writing a petition in favor of a neighboring police chief who had had them arrested at a kegger.

There were 2 police departments for this area. H department had some residential areas but was mostly commercial including the Target lot and the HS. V department had all residential and covered most of our homes. The cops in V department had busted up the kegger. They arrested all the underaged drinkers. 3 or 4 of the drunk kids were the children of diplomats that lived in the area. Those kids were taken into custody, but not arrested. Their parents were called to pick them up because being falling down drunk they couldn’t drive. All the cars were towed.Well the diplomats raised a stink with the State Department. A bunch of powerful parents got behind the diplomats and were trying to fire V department’s police chief. (For not letting falling down drunk underaged kids to drive home).

The meeting in Target’s lot was about a petition supporting the police officers and chief – saying at least they care if we live or die. The H department officers ended up signing the petition, along with most of the student body. V police chief kept his job and the diplomats had to pay the private company that towed the cars to get the cars back.

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Ashley December 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I live in Wisconsin, and schools here don’t close unless there is at least a foot of snow on the ground and even then I still would get up and actually watch the news channels to make SURE. So I am not really sure why a school would close over 3 inches. That’s barely enough to sled in…

While I don’t think the student should have called the guy at home (The district offices would have been a much more logical choice to call), I really don’t agree with how the guys wife handled it either. She should have at least TRIED to be polite about it. Yes, the kid may have been concerned with safety, but he should have tried district offices first. It is quite likely it is not one mans choice to shut down a district for the day. But then his wife should have said “Please direct all calls of this nature to _______” rather than throwing out insults.

This all reminds me of when my father was town chairman and people kept calling our house and cussing out my dad for the roads not being plowed in our town. The only problem? Anyone who called was calling the wrong person. My dad may have been town chairman but he had absolutely nothing to do with sending the plows out. ALWAYS double check that you are calling the right person.

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winter December 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Yep, the kid didn’t want to go to school, so called an official at home to harrass him.

Parents? Probably at work alreaady and didn’t have any idea what the kid was up to.

The wife? completely out of line. An adult never calls a kid to harrass him, call him names, or otherwise. I agree, she stooped to his level and was no better than him. If I were her husband, and my wife had returned a phone call related to MY work, I would not like it.

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bookworm December 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I think you’ve pretty much covered how I feel about the kid calling the official’s HOME number, as well as that rude message the wife left. As if it were any of HER business.

But three inches of snow? Really? Suck it up and go to school. And get used to it, because once you graduate and are working in the real world, you don’t GET to take snow days.

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kero December 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm

How did the kid get the phone number?? Usually that’s not made available, right? I have not heard this story, but me thinks the kid purposedly searched for the home phone number (scary). Blaming generational gap is silly….. I’m pretty sure when this kid grows up, he will not want to be bothered with work when he is relaxing at home.

@ TheElf: I wouldn’t be quick to judge the parents as teens sometimes act w/o parents’ knowing. Even if the parents taught the kid some manners, he will not always do what he’s told.

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Caroline December 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I’d just like to make a quick comment about the admin’s comment at the end. I’m 24 (so about 5 years older than the kid in question), and probably count as one of the older members of this younger generation. This kid doesn’t represent all of us, even though he thought he did, and addressing your final comment to the people my age instead of to those individuals who actually engage in breaking others’ rights to privacy was uncalled-for. There are many people in the generations who are older than we are who think nothing of breaking others’ rights to privacy (may I introduce you to the paparazzi?) and many my age who, despite fully adopting the new digital lifestyle, go out of our way to maintain decent personal boundaries and respect those of others. Blanket statements tend toward being unfair and sometimes fuel biases that I personally don’t appreciate.

Anyway, the kid was clearly way out of line. I’d like to hear the message that he left, though, to be able to determine whether or not I’d file it under “youthful indiscretion” or outright harassment. The wife’s reaction was totally understandable, if not handled quite the right way.

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SHOEGAL December 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm

How is it that someone can call my private home and ask if I want a magazine subscription but this kid can’t call this school official without suffering legal consequences?? Ask someone else and you might say this young person had a right to question authoritity if he felt strongly about it and should be praised for actually doing something about it. I’m sorry – I’m not completely condoning his actions but I don’t agree that he should be in such hot water over it. He made a phone call – he asked a question – GET OVER IT!!!

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Laura December 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

DCGirl’s comment adds a lot of light to the story. I agree with Ms. Jeanne 100% here. Yes, Administrator’s Wife was waaaaay over the top. But 17 years old is old enough to understand that teachers and other public officials should have their privacy respected.

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Just Laura December 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

For those who scoff at the idea of closing for a mere 3″:
I lived in NJ for several years. The instant a flake hits the street, the plows are out and ready, along with the sand trucks.
Here in OK, there are maybe two plow trucks per county. There may or may not be sand trucks. Two inches of snow will stay on the streets until it wears off (yes, melting and turning back into ice every single night). No one seems to know how to drive on snow and ice, so the National Guard is called out to pull cars out of ditches on I-35 and I-40. I am not exaggerating. Having lived in the Northeast, I don’t have much of a problem driving, but I certainly avoid the other less experienced drivers! So canceling school for an inch or three is for the safety of the children – believe me.

As to the student calling the person at home – my mother is a teacher, and she gets calls all the time. Yes, it’s rude (particularly when they called at dinner). But parents/students do it anyway. It comes with the job. Thank goodness for Caller ID, so now my mother can enjoy a pleasant evening without being hassled about homework assignments, grades, and yes, whether or not school is closed due to weather.

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Xtina December 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I hope student Kori made that call solely because he wanted to ask the administrator an honest question and because was not aware of other people to call, not because he wanted to be rude and complain–and I would hope, based on the administrator’s wife’s response to him, that she reacted that way because he *had* indeed been rude and that had just gotten her stirred up. Although not a proper response from her, it would have explained how come an ADULT who should know better wouldn’t have returned the boy’s call and calmly explained that you don’t make those kinds of calls to people’s homes, or handed the boy’s number and question to the proper source to answer it.

At any rate, Kori shouldn’t have called the administrator’s home, and the wife should not have replied in such a fashion. This was a matter of the man’s job and he was entitled to his privacy away from the workplace. Where were the boy’s parents in this?

I sure do hope that the concept of a person’s privacy, even if they are a public figure, will return. Seems to be that any part of a person’s life these days is up for grabs, and I hope that the coming generations will eventually realize that there is a lot of good to be gleaned from everyone’s life NOT being a completely open book there for all the world to pick apart.

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Elizabeth December 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I agree with the admin 100%. I’m not even in my 30s, so I really doubt this is a generational gap on understanding privacy. Jen is more than likely right, the kid was just pissed he had to go to school. I mean, if he and his parents felt it was not safe to drive they had other options. His parents could have called the school and explained they didn’t feel safe on the road/didn’t feel safe having him drive. He was hoping to get out of school in a way that would make him sound smart and responsible. And the wife shouldn’t have responded past calling the authorities. She may have felt she had the right to the moment he called her home, but in a way it is still an issue with her husband’s job and she should have kept out.

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boxy December 27, 2010 at 2:55 pm

How did the kid get the school official’s home phone number? I mean, he would have had to search for it – leading me to believe he was in a bit of a snit. Not to lump all teens in the same pot, but the ones I know are very entitled and often snotty – more so when they’re disappointed.

Regardless, you don’t go calling someone’s home when you’re unhappy because school isn’t canceled.

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Calypso December 27, 2010 at 2:55 pm

“a 17 year old called your house to ask a valid question concerning the safety of all the children in the district?”

C’mon, now. Does anyone think for one second his call was motivated by concern for the safety of the children? I *do* vaguely recall being 17…. ;)

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Virg December 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I agree with the idea that Devraj Kori should not have called Superintendent Tistadt’s home to ask about school business. The problem I have with this post is in the last sentence, which is needlessly prejudicial. Just because Mr. Kori said it doesn’t mean that “the younger generation” has any general “blase’ attitude toward privacy”. The Tistadts didn’t mention getting any phone calls at home other than this one.

Virg

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admin December 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I did not personally coin the phrase “The Tell-All Generation” to describe the pervasive attitude among teenagers and young adults regarding privacy. Googling “younger generation privacy” yields a plethora of sites and news articles about the generational gap that exists when it comes to the issue of privacy, both personal and others. While studies show that young adults in the early 20’s do take a greater interest in their privacy, teenagers do not seem to have the life experience to understand the ramifications of the loss of privacy. Kori, at age 17, falls into that teenaged category and probably did not contemplate the consequences of invading Tistadt’s privacy if there is little regard for his own personal privacy.

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AshtaraSilunar December 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNfJA0Q80bA
Here’s the audio of the voicemail. From what she says, it sounds like the kid DID try the work phone first, and then tried the (listed) home phone number.

I don’t know what was said in the original message, but I have trouble imagining any message that would justify this kind of angry response. Even a demanding, out-of-line message should initially be given a polite response. And I don’t really see anything wrong with a polite query from a student that lives in an area where the roads haven’t been cleared yet. Impolite, maybe, but he DID try the office first. And really, if Dean Tisdadt wasn’t at work because it was snowing, why on earth would he expect the kids to be in school?

Candy Tisdadt was out of line here. If she didn’t approve of being called at home, a polite, “I can’t explain my husband’s thought process to you. Please don’t contact us at home, my husband’s work number is 555-5555. Leave a message there, and he’ll call you back during office hours.” is the best response. There’s no reason to explode at someone.

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Pam December 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I agree with the idea that the administrator’s wife could have/should have politely handled the situation. What she did, in my opinion, was worse than the teen caller because she, as an adult needed to set an example. How can we complain about a kid’s behaviour if we are modeling the same rudeness? Be polite and teach them how you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar : )

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Susie December 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

If you don’t want to be called at home, have an unlisted number. I completely disagree with admin’s view that it is inappropriate and rude to contact people using publicly available information.

I also disagree with your comments about a minor aged child. He’s 17, I applaud him for taking responsibility for his own safety. Not every child has parents who care.

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RosieD December 27, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I hate to disagree with the general consensus of the comments that I have read so far, but I feel I must. While I agree that what the young man did was inappropriate, I would not call it “harassing” in any way. His original message, of course, has not been published so we will probably never know what he said, but to me, the question itself is not rude either. Finally, I disagree with people who say that purely because this person is 17, he couldn’t possibly be really concerned about childrens’ safety. I don’t know him, and I’m sure no one else on this board knows him. It is not our place to say if he was a lazy person, or a concerned person. His question was not rude; phoning someone’s house was inappropriate, and that the charming wife needs to take a deep breath before answering her husband’s phone calls.

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AshtaraSilunar December 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm

@boxy – I, too, would be interested to know where the teen got the number. The article does say that the number was listed. I’ve had teachers that made sure their numbers weren’t listed anywhere, and I’ve had schools that listed their numbers in the student handbook/phonebook. If it was the latter, I see even less of a problem.

It seems like most of the disagreement in the comments here is because we don’t know the tone or content of the original message left.

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Lynne December 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

This seems like a case of retaliatory rudeness.

Perhaps the 17 year old was out of line, but Ms. Tisdadt was supposed to be the adult in this situation.

She did not set a very good example.

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Chelsey December 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

@Jenna: I agree. I’m from West Virginia, not New York, but we would not have been closed over three inches.

As for the whole thing, I do agree that he should not have called the man at his house. I can only assume it was teenage ignorance that caused him to do so (while many people understand etiquette when they’re young, not all of us had parents who taught us these things–I was naive enough at 15 that I might have done the same thing…not at 17, though). Hopefully they both learned from their mistakes.

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AshtaraSilunar December 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm

From the original article– “Kori, a member of the Lake Braddock debate team who said his grade-point average is 3.977, said his message was not intended to harass. He said that he *tried unsuccessfully to contact Dean Tistadt at work* [emphasis added] and that he thought he had a basic right to petition a public official for more information about a decision that affected him and his classmates.”
Seems like a reasonable progression of contact attempts on an urgent matter to me.

The article goes on to say that he disapproved of the harassment that the Tisdadts were subjected to as a result of posting the audio file, and regretted doing so. He may not have contemplated the consequences ahead of time, but at least he acknowledged them afterward. That’s way ahead of many teens, and I respect him for it.

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Chelsey December 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Actually, I’d like to comment again, because I do agree with Susie on the subject of having an unlisted number if you don’t want random people calling you (anyone who might need to call your house is probably either close enough to you that they would have your number or be able to get it from a mutual acquaintance or they could call your work phone). And, like RosieD, I understand the student’s concern and I think it’s ludicrous that anyone would suggest that a 17 year old wouldn’t be concerned over the welfare of himself and other students. When I was in high school, the cool thing to do was drive yourself to school. My school was 12 miles away and it was all winding back roads–every year I was in high school, at least one student would wind up in an accident, guaranteed; my senior year one girl wound up in a coma (black ice). So the roads not being all that great after a snow was kind of a big deal. I didn’t want to end up in an accident and I certainly didn’t want any of my classmates getting hurt, either.

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RhiRhi December 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I live in Lower Alabama. If we think 3 inches of snow is coming, the city shuts down. And there are times even the ambulance won’t run. Now, we haven’t had any real snow since 1996, and the city shut down from what I was told.

And to be honest, if the kid did call the office first, and was polite on the phone message, and accepted not answering the phone as an acceptable response, then I don’t think he was wrong to use the super’s listed phone number. If the super doesn’t want people calling him, he has the option to have his number unlisted (something the teachers in my area are advised to do when they are hired)

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Kay L December 27, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I listened to the VM and I can find nothing wrong with what Candy said to that student.

She responded to things that he apparently said in his message to her. He implied that her husband was not doing his job by not answering his phone and not responding to his call.

The kid needed a smack down–its the same kind of response he should have gotten from one of his parents who apparently were not around when he was doing this and posting it on the internet.

I think her anger is justified in light of the cheekiness of this student where he is complaining that he has to get up and go to school after it snowed when her husband had been up late and out on the roads to make that very decision.

All the student had to do was what he would have done any other school day. But, the snow forced the school official to get up much earlier to go out and do his job, so the accusation that he wasn’t doing his job was particularly assumptive and insulting.

In the Raleigh area we had the opposite problem and there definitely parents who wanted to talk to school officials immediately to ask why school were open when the roads were impassible.

The Wake County school system in North Carolina had a habit of waiting until the absolute last minute to delay or cancel school. Every other school system around would have already delayed or cancelled, but not them!

Not until they let the busses go out and students ended up spending the night at school because they then could not get them home after sending them there did they start making more conservative decisions about when to delay or cancel school in light of weather predictions.

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Harley Granny December 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I agree with admin….I come from a long line of school teachers and preachers.
It is not ok for anyone of any age to call these people at home asking about work.

As a 17 year old, I would never in a million years even think about questioning a decision a dean, teacher or principle made. It wasn’t my place.
That is up to the parents to do. During school hours at at the school or on the schools phones. That’s not a 17 yo standing up for themselves, that is a 17 yo who is a wee bit too big for their britches. Seriously who does he think he is?
I’m going to chalk the wife’s response up to a bad day…who knows how many calls like this she got. Maybe she just reached her breaking point. Should she have shown better judgement? Sure but the 17 yo should never have called her home in the 1st place.
Our phone used to ring in the middle of the night and it was almost always over something trival but we always had to asnwer it and could never be rude.

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DianeRN December 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Seconding what JustLaura said, snow in one part of the country is a totally different entity from another part. I grew up in NW Indiana, near Lake Michigan. The idea of closing for 3″ of snow would have been laughed at. We just kept going.

Now I’m in Nashville, TN. The threat of snow is enough to panic the school system. My little home town had more snow equipment than the entire state of TN. The people back home have much more experience driving in snow and ice and in many instances the terrain is different.

In addition, here the school buses run in a way that is time consuming when time is essentia. They make three separate runs to get all the kids home. First the elemetary schools are emptied, than the middle schools, and than the high schools. The buses used to run in reverse order, getting the older kids home first. In 1981, the predicted snow started earlier and accumulated faster than predicted. By the time the buses got to the younger kids, the roads were pretty much impassable. There were K – 6th graders who did not get home until after midnight because they were stuck in traffic or snow somewhere. This was pre-cell phone so there were a lot of panicked parents. No one who was here for that debacle thinks twice about schools closing for “minute” snow amounts.

I have lots of experience driving in the deep “think feet at a time” snow but I never mock other parts of the country with less equipment or experience. It’s essentially the same as mocking people with less tolerance for heat because they are from the north, humidity because they are from the SW, or cold because they are from the south. This country has many types of clime and it isn’t fair to compare one part to another.

Time to get off my soapbox now, sorry.

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Eisa December 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Hmm. He probably should not have called the administrator at home [although since it apparently does he say he tried to contact him at work, and just really wanted to know--I can understand why he did]. But her response? WOW. Yeah, that’s real mature, Administrator’s Wife. He’s a 17-year-old high school student. He tried to contact your hubby at work. And if the area isn’t used to snow, that’s a pretty valid concern about whether or not the school district will be closed. I don’t think he should have called their home, but her reaction was WAY over the top to me. It wasn’t an abusive phone call, after all, he was just asking if the district would be closed because of the snow.

Although where I live [Idaho], we once had FOURTEEN INCHES of snow, and school wasn’t canceled. O.o Apparently we’re supposed to snowshoe in… :P

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Freda December 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Kids do dumb things, and adults are around to correct the dumb things. The wife should have left a polite message back, to the tune of “His office number is xxx and you should call him there.”

A kid doing a dumb think is no justification for the adult to lose their temper.

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HeatherT December 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Is it possible the wife just got off of a third shift job and was about to drift off to sleep? Or maybe she just got a collicky baby to sleep? I agree she shouldn’t have called him back, just wanted to present another perspective.

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Baglady December 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

In some areas, it’s fairly common for public officials to make their home phone numbers available to the public and to get calls at home on official business. We don’t know if this was that sort of area … I’m leaning toward not, but still, I don’t see it as a grievous breach of etiquette or protocol for a citizen to call an official at home with a *polite* inquiry or complaint. And nowhere is it indicated that this student was anything but polite. The wife, on the other hand, was out of line and made all sorts of rash assumptions about the kid just being lazy and wanting a snow day.

And in an area that doesn’t get a lot of snow (Virginia qualifies), and therefore doesn’t have the army of plows and salt/sand trucks to handle it, 3 inches *is* a big deal and a safety hazard. Schools in the South have closed for a lot less.

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sgtpeper December 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I pretty much agree with everyone here except for the fact that the admin and a few others find it *so hard* to believe that a 17 YO would be “so concerned” with the road conditions and weather. Are there a lot of teens who are self-invovled and snippy? Yes. But there are also teens out there that are concerned about local, state and world problems. It reminds me of when an 18 YO in my town ran for the school board. Everyone questioned his motives and his opponent, a teacher none the less, led the charge that if the 18yo was elected he would make changes to how long school was, and what students could do. He even put it as “letting the inmates running the asylum”. The 18yo did not get very many votes. This is the problem with a lot of how teens act, adults view them through a skewed lens just because this is how they were or how their friends were. If the people here who automatically assumed that the kid did this because he wanted to be snippy, or because he was upset he had to go to school, viewed adults like this on a first impression, we would be condemning them to Ehell. But since it’s just a “snot nosed teenager” it’s okay.

It all actually that is exactly why the guy’s wife went off like she did. She has this attitude of “How dare this snot nosed punk call my house and say what he said.” I feel that those of us on this board who automatically assume the worst of this teen are not so far removed from Mrs. Tistadt and if we are going to condemn her we should just as well condemn the others who expect the worst from the younger generation.

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Lexie December 27, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I’m going to give Kori the benefit of the doubt here. He’s a 17 year old boy who made an effort to engage a higher authority regarding an issue he felt strongly about; and, as a gross generalization, not in the age-bracket or gender that really considers etiquette. Plus we’re in a day and age were all sorts of authority figures welcome comments on Facebook and the like.

No, he shouldn’t have called a home phone number. However Candy Tisdadt behaved appallingly. If she felt that she absolutely had to return the call, a simple “unless of an extreme emergency, all phone calls related to Dean Tisdadt’s job should be directed to his office. I do not feel comfortable recieving these calls at our private residence.”

This is a case of clueless teen versus an adult who should have known better. It was stupid to post the messages online but I believe it says that he regrets the backlash it caused for the Tisdadts, and I think it was decent of him to acknowledge the mistake. Candy Tisdadt is the one I’m disgusted with in this scenario.

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N December 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I don’t live all that far away from where this took place, and I remember strong protest from seniors (and a few juniors) with driving privileges over snow closings. Especially galling was the “move bus schedules up half an hour” plan – if driving kids were late, they were penalized, regardless of weather or safety concerns (or in one case an actual accident).

I would hazard to guess the concern is less about *not* going to school and more about the ridiculous consequences that can befall kids if they even miss one day in many schools.

That said, both kid and administrator’s wife were way out of line.

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DCGirl December 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

The issue the day of the storm was that it started snowing after school had started. If, as the student wanted, the schools had closed early, students would have been released into the worst of the storm. By not closing school early, the school administration actually kept the students in a safer environment until the plows and salt/sand trucks had had time to get out and do their thing.

If the issue was that the administrator didn’t return the student’s call in what the student felt was a timely fashion, the student could have called the main switchboard and asked to be connected with someone else or left a message with a live operator. He could have visited the school office and ask if the school office had heard anything. He had other options.

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Kriss December 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I don’t know, my parents generation seems to have done a good job stripping me of any illusion of privacy. (Thank you 9/11 for the attitude of “if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t mind us breaking your privacy”)

Geez louise, some people are making it sound like he called her a whore, tp’d their house and poured sugar in their tank. I wonder if a concerned parent would have received the same treatment. Just because the guy was 17 doesn’t automatically mean he wanted to harass anyone. A much better reaction would have been “Thank you for calling but this is our place of residence. To reach Mr. X about school related matters please call him at his office at XYZ number.” It was a phone call, not breaking into their house, not hacking their computer, not stealing their identity, not sneaking around their house and photographing them. A simple phone call. Just because the kid was ignorant to the chain of command doesn’t mean he had malicious intent. Perhaps he was even rude. That response was still very out of line.

It is ALWAYS uncalled for to respond to a minor (anyone really) in such an ugly and undignified way.

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jenna December 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Th Elf – I know. I went to college in DC and lived in Arlington. Yes, it’s true that they panic over an inch of snow, and I still find that hilarious. They DO get snow on occasion (hello, Snowpocalypse just last winter) and should be better prepared.

When I lived in Arlington VA I would take the bus to work. It was a 1.5-2 hour commute each way, but I didn’t earn enough to be able to afford a car. With light snow, I could be sure I’d be waiting at the bus stop for the snow-delayed bus for up to an hour.

My reaction was only partly “this is awful – they really should send people home”…but mostly “this is awful – DC and NoVA need to get their act together. Seriously, they underfund Metro and never have enough plows/salt, and never deploy them on time.” What the DC area needs to do is call up NY for consulting services on this.

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ashisu December 27, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I agree that it would have been more appropriate for Dave to wait and call Mr. Tistadt at his office rather than his home. However, questions about school policies concerning weather closings are not unreasonable and do not alone constitute harassment. The article does not state the nature of Dave’s message to Mr. Tistadt. Was he disrespectful? Did he use foul language or call names or make threats? Did he call multiple times? If so, *that’s* harassment. But if he called once and said something along the lines of “Hi. My name is Dave. I was wondering why school was not closed today after the three inch snowfall. Please call me back at (…) Thank you. Bye” then Mrs. Tistadt overreacted. No matter what, though, Mrs. Tistadt is not a public official and has no obligation to return official calls for her husband. She would have been smarter to have just ignored the call and let her husband handle it.

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Michelle P December 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I heard about this when it happened; I doubt the kid had any more motive than not wanting to go to school, but disagree with the wife’s response as well. They were both out of line. When I was 17, I wouldn’t have dreamt of calling any adult official at home about anything.

I live in SC, and right now everyone is in a panic and half of the businesses are closed due to barely three inches of snow. If bad weather (ice/snow) is very unusual, people aren’t prepared.

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Shannon December 28, 2010 at 1:02 am

For everyone making the “in MY town, we walk ten miles in flipflops when there’s 18 inches of snow so this kid should just suck it up,” comments please keep in mind that the reason this is possible is that your town is probably equipped to deal with large amounts of snowfall, in terms of snowplows, plans, and general familiarity with inclement weather. This isn’t the case in all parts of the country, and in some areas three inches IS a big deal, especially if you live in a rural area or are leaving for school at 6am before the roads have been plowed or are a new driver who has never driven in winter weather before.

I don’t really see the problem with Kori calling the school official’s home number. If your number is out there, then there is a reasonable expectation that people will call it, including people who you might not wish to talk to. (Who wants to bet that Tisdabt is the type to cuss out telemarketers too?) If you have a problem with that then you can use caller id, or take your phone off the ringer, or get an unlisted number. But expecting that people won’t call your phone when the number is out there is a little unreasonable. It reminds me of people who act outraged because employers and admissions officers look at their facebooks-you choose to put the information out there, you accept the consequences.

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