LANCASTER, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - A school district is apologizing for giving students the wrong number for a suicide prevention hotline.
A misprinted number on the back of student ID cards didn't go to a suicide prevention hotline. Instead, it went to a sex line. (Source: KCBS, KCAL, Janene Lavelle/Facebook via CNN)
The number was a typo that went to a sex hotline.
Emily Lavelle and her friends discovered the mistake when they decided to see what would happen if they called the suicide hotline number listed on the back of their school ID.
“I was in disbelief,” Emily said. “I mean, that’s a suicide prevention hotline. Someone who genuinely needs help like that, they shouldn’t hear that kind of thing from something that they thought was going to help them.”
Emily told her mother about the call late in the afternoon.
"Of course I didn't instantly believe her and I instantly picked up my phone and called it and sure enough, it was a sex hotline,” said Janene Lavelle.
Janene Lavelle says it was too late to call the school, so she posted about it on Facebook and got hundreds of responses.
Then the school district issued a news release which says in part, "Late yesterday, we were made aware that the middle school student ID cards have the wrong phone number listed for the suicide hotline. The phone numbers have two digits transposed and this is a mistake. The number listed on the card is actually a sex line."
"What do you say to those people who would look at this story and think it's humorous, it's funny?" a reporter asked Janene Lavelle.
"It does have a humorous undertone to it, but if someone needed help and they called that number, I don't know what would happen,” she said. “They have that number for a reason, and the fact that they call it and get this number obviously and then what would they do?"
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self harm, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk (8255).
Trained counselors are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help.
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