Computer glitch prevents some parents from registering kids for class

by: Gary Horcher Updated:

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SEATTLE —

Dozens of Seattle students, many of them kindergartners, will have to wait at least another day to enroll in school. Seattle Public Schools blames the trouble on glitches in the district’s new computer-enrollment system, which serves more than 47,000 students. Many parents hoping to enroll their children on the first scheduled day of school left disappointed.

After waiting in long lines for hours—then being turned away, frustrations among parents reached the boiling point Wednesday night at the district’s headquarters. Some parents took cellphone video, which they sent to KIRO-7. The video shows several mothers loudly vowing to stay in line.

"People have been in there for hours,” said Jennifer Eaglespeaker, who was trying to register her daughter Anna into kindergarten. “Some people were there all day and they just turned them away, saying we can't help you, here's a number. Come back tomorrow.’’

Eaglespeaker says she was released from a hospital stay to wait in the line, and she will have to return to the hospital Thursday. She says she was asked to leave Wednesday, when the district’s registration service center closed at 4 p.m. Eaglespeaker says some parents refused to move, and that’s when security got involved.

“They got security out, they had the megaphone, they were pushing parents out the door,” said Eaglespeaker. There must have been 60 people in there, and (the staff) just turned them away."

A spokesperson for SPS says the district’s technical staff is working around the clock to fix bugs in the new computer system. Patti Spencer says registration processes which used to take seconds, now can take several minutes, if not longer.

"We strive to serve all of our families in an excellent way, and we have not been able to live up to our own standards the last couple of days,” said Spencer. “Apologies to parents caught in this. We are doing the best we can and we ask them to please bear with us.

Spencer said the computer system was replaced recently, because the previous one was failing.

Jennifer Eaglespeaker says she hopes the next line will not be backed up for hours. “I’m pregnant, and I can’t really stand for that long,” she said.