"This may be the wildest thing I've ever done," said Jacobs High School principal Mike Bregy over the school's PA system Friday. And then he told all 2,500 students his personal cell number. He wasn't inviting calls from the kids, rather he asked for text messages.
Specifically, Bregy's hope is that they'll text him if they know about bad things like drugs, alcohol, weapons and gang fights that might pose security concerns at the high school.
"We're living in an age when technology is surpassing our ability to effectively communicate with you," Bregy told the students.
Translating from educationese Bregy said, "They don't talk anymore. You ask them, 'When was the last time you called your parents?' and they tell you, 'We don't talk, we text.'"
Students were nonplussed when Bregy's voice told them to get out their cell phones and power up. Cells are verbotten at Jacobs. "You get Saturday detention and you'll get your phone taken away," said sophomore Adam Yontz.
They were stunned when Bregy told them to enter his number and name--followed by the notation "Text".
The classroom reaction was negative. "I'm not going to text my principal," said sophomore Dylan Butler in a tone suggesting if some germicidal hand cleaner were nearby he'd use it. But peer pressure, especially imagined peer pressure is strong among teenagers. In private, things might be different.
"You'll just have to trust me that this is totally confidential," Bregy said.
In the pic: Adam Yontz was grinning as he entered Jacobs Princial Mike Bregy's number into his cell phone Friday.