The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 15, 2013

Superintendent: No gripes over recorded calls at Mifflinburg schools

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— MIFFLINBURG — Telephone callers to the Mifflinburg Area School District may get a surprise on the other end: A message telling them their conversation will be recorded.

The new districtwide system was installed in September, and all calls — to the administrative offices or any of the school buildings — have that message, Superintendent Dan Lichtel said.

For instance, callers to the general business number who reach the voicemail system will hear: “Welcome to the Mifflinburg School District. All phone calls are recorded.” Other numbers, such as Lichtel’s office, also warn that the call will be recorded.

Callers do not get a choice to opt out of recording if they want, and it’s unclear whether there is an opt-out. The system stores the recorded messages and deletes them itself after a certain number of days. A user must search the system if looking for a particular recording.

Lichtel said there have been no issues with the recording or complaints from anyone about their calls being taped and that this measure “is not sparked by anything,” although some administrators have wished over the years that they had some conversation recorded for the record.

“There is no particular incident or reason for this,” Lichtel said.

He also said using the call-recording feature doesn’t stem from an incident or any such thing. It is part of the system and is “nothing more than a safeguard for anyone who calls to know they are not necessarily off the record.”

Because callers are told up front they will be recorded, the measure does not break state wiretap laws, which mandate a person must be told if a conversation will be recorded.

The new phone system was installed districtwide in September and operates much like a switchboard.