Lighter

Little Boy Ties Up 911 Line

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Did you know that old cell phones, even if they’re no longer connected to a network, can often still dial 911? Alex’s parents know it… now.

That’s because Alex used his “play” cell phone to dial 911. Four hundred times.

People can dial 911 in an emergency, when they need the police or an ambulance or the fire department.

So when four-year-old Alex called 911, the operator thought there was an emergency. At least, the first few times.

Alex’s parents had given him an old cell phone to play with, and he was probably very excited to find out that there was a number he could dial to actually get a real person on the other end of the line.

So he kept calling. Again and again and again.

He tied up the 911 line for hours. He ignored the operator’s repeated requests to stop calling 911 or to put his parents on the phone.

The operator shouted into the phone, hoping that Alex’s parents would hear him and take the phone away from the child.

During one call, the operator heard an adult asking Alex if he wanted some pie.

The police think the calls were coming from the area of Highway 21, five kilometers south of Port Elgin, Ont.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Alex made serious mistakes by calling 911 so many times. Do you think he was old enough to know better? Do you think Alex should be punished? If so, how do you think he should be punished?

Do you think Alex’s parents were at fault? Do you think his parents should face consequences? If so, what punishment should Alex’s parents face?

Many children now have cell phones. Some children have them for safety reasons, while others use them to call their friends and socialize. At what age do you think a child is responsible enough to have a cell phone?

Reading Prompt
In order to understand new information, we use schema. Schema is a person’s background knowledge.

Before you read the article, use your schema to brainstorm everything you know about 911.

Read the article.  Identify how your schema/background knowledge of 911 helped you to better understand the article.

Primary
identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand texts (OME, Reading: 1.3)

Junior
identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts (OME, Reading: 1.3)

Grammar Feature: Capital Letters
Capital letters are used throughout the article for the following purposes:

1. At the beginning of a sentence

2. Proper nouns – ex. Port Elgin, Alex, Highway 21

Discuss the different uses of capital letters.