The great pumpkin roll fiasco: we will reply
December 6, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Nolan Bryant
Technology is supposed to simplify and ease the life of the educational system, yet sometimes it’s a little too easy and a simple mistake can quickly fill up email inboxes.
Two recent emails, one about a forgotten pumpkin roll and another about elementary rock concert, were inadvertently sent to every employee of the Salem-Keizer School District, rather than their intended small audience. This prompted the Salem-Keizer technology department to inform the teachers of how to use their emails accounts effectively.
Robert Silva, Director of of Technology and Information Services sent out an email reiterating what the “reply all” button means in the Outlook email program. A staff member can address an email to the entire district numbering over 5000 plus people, Silva said.
A receiver of such email can either hit “reply” to address the teacher that sent the email, or they can choose “reply all” addressing the email to everyone that received the email.
“Last month, we had the infamous case of the missing pumpkin roll,” Silva wrote in his email to staff on November 28. “This stirred up a lot of passions in district staff. Some jumped into action and tried to solve the case or comfort the victims, whereas others reacted swiftly to shut down the investigation,” he continued.
This so called “Pumpkin Roll Fiasco” had spread all over the district within the hour with staff responding with funny comebacks, protecting the staff member who initially sent the email or attempting to take the situation into their own hands and trying to stop the contagion of emails.
Later in November, another email was sent from Wright elementary concerning a school rock concert. The email sparked another large “reply all” messaging session, but to a less extreme. After the two fiascoes, Silva distributed tech support concerning the “reply all” option among the staff.
“My philosophy is to create awareness and encourage the proper use of the distribution groups so that they can continue being a useful tool for staff,” he wrote in his email to the staff.
“I have the same philosophy regarding email phishing. Instead of blocking the use of email, I am trying to create awareness and encourage staff to STOP, THINK and VERIFY before responding to emails.”
So far since the recent tech support email, the district has not seen an explosion of “reply all” emails, hopefully because the staff is now reviewed and practiced the complex technology known as email.