A New York school district is blaming a software error after an automated call mispronounced a black student’s name as a racial slur.
The Rochester City School District publicly apologized to the girl and her mother after the robo call mispronounced Nicarri Stewart’s name when reporting her absent, reported WHAS-TV.
The girl’s mother received the automated call two weeks ago when her daughter missed class: “This is Edison Career & Technology High School,” the automated call said. “Your daughter, n*gger, has missed period 1.”
The school district contracts with the company Blackboard Connect to send out mass notifications, and the deputy superintendent told the TV station the vendor’s software was responsible for the error.
“It’s very similar to technologies that you use that are centered around GPS,” said Lawrence Bo Wright, RCSD deputy superintendent, “where sometimes the system will have mispronounced a name, and that’s how that occurred.”
But the girl’s mother doesn’t understand why the racial slur would be entered into the computer system — and the calls keep coming.
“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,” said Nicomi Stewart.
The school district’s information technology department is working with the vendor to determine why the Stewarts keep receiving those automated calls.