A middle school student who dialed a phone number listed for a suicide hotline on the back of her student ID was in for a shock after she was connected not to a crisis manager, but to a sex hotline.
New Vista Middle School in Lancaster, California has pulled its student ID cards after learning the hotline was printed incorrectly, Lancaster School District Superintendent Michele Bowers said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“We are very sorry for this error, and we are working hard to correct it,” the statement read. “The phone numbers have two digits transposed and this is a mistake. The incorrect number listed on the card is actually a sex hotline.”
Bowers said all IDs with the incorrect phone number had been collected, and students would be receiving new ones soon.
The mix-up was discovered this week by student Emily Lavelle, who told KCAL-TV she was “in disbelief” after she and a friend dialed the number out of boredom after school.
“Someone who genuinely needs help like that, they shouldn’t hear that kind of thing from what they thought was going to help them,” she said. “They should fact-check that kind of thing.”
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Emily told her mom Janene, who was just as shocked after trying it out herself.
Janene told CNN she did not call the school right away because it was after hours, and instead posted a photo of the ID to Facebook, where it soon went viral.
“In my opinion, anything the district puts out, they’re responsible for,” she said. “I don’t really expect them to do a whole lot more than apologize and fix it.”
In the meantime, calls placed to the hotline will be transferred to the suicide prevention hotline.
“Upon learning about the problem (I’m assuming because of the increased calls and inquiries), the owner of the sex line number was kind enough to have all calls on that number forwarded to the suicide prevention hotline,” Bowers told CNN.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.