The Fayetteville, Ark., School District has set up an automated telephone program that will call a student’s home each day the student is absent from one or more class periods.

There is a problem, though. If the student gets to the telephone first, it likely defeats the purpose.

“Eventually … we’ll set it up where the parent can call back in to see if their child was absent,” said Gail Quillen, the school board’s director of technology programs. “This is just what the first phase of the system can do. It can also be set to notify parents of parent-teacher conferences.”

The system will start calling at 4:30 p.m. and call once each hour until the telephone is answered, Quillen said. “We’ll keep the system going till 9:30. We don’t want to call too late, but we want to reach them,” she said.