BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Call it robo-call revenge. A Maryland father is woken in the middle of the night by an automated phone call from his child’s school telling him about a snow day.

Denise Koch explains that the message left him steamed, so he decided to get even.

The phone rang at 4:30 a.m. at the Titus home on Wednesday. Jennifer was already up, feeding their newborn, but her husband Aaron was startled out of sleep.

“My first thought was, ‘Who’s dead?'” said Aaron Titus.

He quickly realized it wasn’t an emergency. It was a robo-call from Prince George’s County schools, informing him schools were opening late because of the snow.

But Titus says he already knew that, and that got him thinking.

“I thought, ‘You know what? Maybe they’re just following the golden rule. Maybe they’re treating me the way that they want me to treat them,’” said Aaron Titus. “I thought, ‘If they can send out a robo-call, I bet I could do it, too.'” 

This is the robo thank you call he sent to the superintendent and nine school board members the next day, at 4:30 a.m.: “While I know the school district wanted to ensure I drop my child off two hours late on the snow day, I already knew that before I went to bed. I hope this call demonstrates why a 4:30 a.m. call does more to annoy than to inform.”

His wife says what her husband did wasn’t very nice, but it did accomplish more than if he had just written a letter or called to complain.

“They do a good job. It’s not like we’re out to get revenge. It’s more like ‘Hey guys, that was really dumb,’” said Jennifer Titus.

For now, Aaron Titus says he’s planning to put his phone on “do not disturb” for the next few nights.

The Prince George’s County Schools System says the call should not have been placed at 4:30 a.m. That was a mistake, and they say it will never happen again.

Comments (67)
  1. poca says:

    Thats bull we always get the call between 4:30 am and 6am

  2. D. Bos. says:

    This just shows how “OBTUSE” Americans are becoming!!!!!!!! He’s a Big Az Kid and his wife knows it….

  3. CarriB says:

    I can totally relate to this issue. I have two in middle school, my phone rings off the hook all hours of the evening and night x2 at that. It is very disturbing. I personally have asked to have my name removed several times in the school office, yet the calls continue. Kinda like harassment!

    1. JW says:

      But you would be very upset if they took your number off that list and you didn’t receive a call when there was an emergency at the school. I can’t imagine that the school systems send that many messages to you via their phone service that each and every night you are barraged by phone calls. I think this may be a bit of an exaggeration.

  4. John Paul. says:

    What a petty, miserable family. I bet his wife would love to leave him, if only she could think for herself. With people like this around you just cant win. The schools are trying to do the right thing, they are not trying to annoy.! What a d bag.

  5. dddawg says:

    This is news? What happened here to make this news? Did this guy call the press? “Guess what I just did?” How does something so benign make the news? what a looser.

    1. Diane Aylor says:

      How is the word “LOSER” so commonly misspelled??? How ironic that those who like label others as “losers” can’t even spell the word correctly.

  6. ddawg says:

    There’s even a photo of the phone!!!! – C’mon WJZ are you serious?

  7. carol stover says:

    Who wrote this article? Certainly not a qualified journalist. Don’t you know there is no such word as “woken?” It’s “awakened.” But proper grammar and spelling doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore in the media. Shame on you.

    1. baltimore resident says:

      past participle of wake (Verb)
      1. Emerge or cause to emerge from a state of sleep; stop sleeping.
      2. Become alert to or aware of: “wake up to reality

    2. baltimore resident says:

      check the dictionary before you comment on a post be sure your facts are correct makes you look like an idiot when this happens

  8. Jim says:

    What a big baby, “Put yourself in the corner and suck your thumb.”

  9. Ellen Connolly Clampitt says:

    I love it! Good for him! A call at that time of the morning usually means something bad. I don’t blame him a bit. For those of you who condemn him…my you be “awakened” with a stupid phone call at 4:30 every morning!

    1. Ally says:

      Clampitt-LOL, what a great name……..
      It’s a stupid call to inform parents that their children wont be going in on time? To let parents know that they are going to have to arrange their day a bit? You must not have kids.

      1. baltimore resident says:

        the main theme for the comment is that the night before PG County made the announcement on the radio, tv that school would be 2 hrs late, they should have called the night before if they wanted to be sure people got the message.

      2. baltimore resident says:

        oh so now your the name police too, whats yours if to be so bold??
        Ally Asspitt

      3. JW says:

        Bmore resident, some people don’t watch the ridiculousness that is Bmore area local news each night so I don’t think that’s necessarily a fair expectation that everyone already knew. Yes, they could have sent the message out the night before. Fair enough. But, really? It’s PG County. I think they have bigger things to worry about in their school system than whether the call goes out in the a.m. or the p.m.. And, it’s quite likely that the calling system is set up in such a way that the a.m. call is what it does for school delays. Also, I guarantee someone would have complained had they received a call at 9 or 10 p.m., just after, say, they just got their kids to bed. It’s a no-win situation.

  10. harrison says:

    And if someone didn’t inform him, he’d whine about that, too.

  11. Up At Dawn says:

    I’m sorry, I try not to criticize others, but this guy sounds like a real snot. News must be having a real slow day to report something like this. Maybe he should live in Baltimore City. Our schools wait until the kids are there before declaring a snow day.

  12. Still Up says:

    And by the way; How does he come across the equipment to place a robocall? What did they say he does for a living?

  13. paula123 says:

    Hmmm, I was always told that a baby should sleep in a room where the phone is turned off. Maybe he should try that next time and leave the other phones in the house on in case of emergency. As far as I know there is still a little button on the phone that you can use to turn it off. Geez, people complain because they have to get up out of bed and turn on the news or get on a website or listen to the radio to be informed about school closings.. Here the school is making it easier so you can stay under the nice warm blankies and you still aren’t happy. Grow up!!! and yes WJZ, how is this news/? Sounds like he called your station to make it newsworthy.

    1. Ally says:

      I agree. Hope he enjoyed his 5 minutes of fame….

  14. Barb says:

    What an arrogant, rich piece of trash from the DC suburbs. Seriously- who the HELL would have the time to dwell on this for more than one minute, yet alone set up a robocall AND call WJZ to put himself on the news. Look at his poor wife slaving away with all those kids crawling all over her while this lazy piece sits behind a thousand-some dollar computer playing a middle school prank in a glitzy office. Funny how this tool is wearing a blazer and dress shirt. Just goes to show you the old saying still stands- you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig!

  15. Barb says:

    BY THE WAY- how the HELL did this make it to be the featured story on the FRONT PAGE of WJZ’s website? This channel is beginning to lose all credibility.

  16. hwooly says:

    This is the dumbest story I’ve ever read.
    Way to go crazy man! I hope your panties get out of their tight little bunch they must be in!
    How about, instead of being immature, you call the school superintendent and ask if they could please not send out phone calls prior to 6am? I’m sure they would be happy to oblige.

  17. Dave says:

    Dude your a total looser!!! More importantly why is this news worthy???

  18. roboCOP says:

    No what your husband did was dumb and the only thing it accomplished is it proved hes a MORON!!!!

  19. YourMom says:

    I can t totally relate. For those of you who think it is petty most likely do not have kids and have not experience this alarming call so early in the morning. So why don’t you leave your number on here and we can call you randomly so you may because to comment about personal experience.

    1. Shandi says:

      It wasn’t random; it was his child’s school calling to tell him important information. I would LOVE a 430 call from my district! I usually don’t get the call until 530 – 545am when I have to wake my son up at 5! If it is snowing, icing, or fogging, you should be used to these calls coming if you have kids. Aaron Titus is an idiot.

    2. JW says:

      You know what? It wouldn’t bother me if someone called me randomly, because I turn my ringer down when I go to bed. What about this concept is so hard to understand?

      1. Michael C. Metalios says:

        JW, what if someone you love is hurt. Is it okay for you to wait until morning to hear about it? My ringer stays on because I have parents, I have young children, I have elderly grandparents, and I have friends for whom I care. I have a vehicle capable of getting through weather that many of my friends and family do not. Therefore, if someone needs to be run to the hospital for an emergency, I’ll get that call. I have friends who work in the public service arena – one is a firefighter, two are police officers, and two are EMTs. I drove three of them to their jobs last year during the blizzards. They didn’t call me in the middle of the night, but if they did, I would have received the call and taken them where they needed to be.

        It’s a double-edged sword for sure. And I appreciate the INTELLIGENT comments most have been posting. But this is a forum for discussion and opinion, is it not? While you feel that I’m not stepping out of my little box as you put it, I actually already have.

      2. JW says:

        Michael, honestly if someone I love needed a ride due to a medical emergency and they could get to a phone they would probably call an ambulance, not me. Because that makes sense. I also typically wake up periodically through the night so I don’t fear missing some major call. I understand that’s not the case with everyone, but I have to think that there’s another solution. For example, could you give your friends and family your cell phone number to call in an emergency and give the school your landline number for their robocalls, thereby allowing you to turn a ringer down? Or could you give the school your wife’s cell phone number and family member’s yours – or vice versa? Or give the school your work number? You have claimed how organized and connected you and your family are – I should think then that you’d be able to find a solution to this outside of wasting time and energy being angry and frustrated with school employees.

  20. FrontOfficeSecy says:

    I think 4:30 a.m. is a little extreme but I don’t think getting a call like that at 6:00 would be too bad. I work in the front office a High School in Baltimore County and even though schools are delayed I have to be there on time at 7:00 a.m. You wouldn’t believe how many calls I take when we have a two hour delay….”Are schools delayed this morning?” “What time do I have to catch my bus?” My response to the bus question is, “What time do you normally get the bus?” They tell me and I say, “Just add two hours on to that time”. It amazes me that high school age kids can’t figure out what time school starts and when they’re to catch their bus when there is a two hour delay. These aren’t just calls from students, the parents call to ask these questions as well. Baltimore County doesn’t use the “Connect Ed” calls to get the word out about delays. Something to think about though. Might help alleviate many of those annoying calls that I get in the morning when I’m trying to sit there and get “real” work done.

  21. Michael C. Metalios says:

    AND when I wrote to the school about it, I was told that 5:30 was a bit late and they had just received an e-mail requesting the notifications come earlier.

    Go ahead. Call my house @ 4:30. I dare you.

    1. Dave says:

      post it and ill call you…..

  22. Michael C. Metalios says:

    To heck with you naysayers. Show me WHERE when I registered my children for school, did I accept to receive phone calls at 5:30 AM about school closings? Tell me WHERE did I sign on the dotted line stating I would love to be on the robocall list for phone calls @ 6:30 PM during dinner about upcoming events? We are a connected family. If it snows, I check the ‘net and listen to the radio. If there’s an upcoming school event, my children are bringing home a paper telling us so. This is just more of the pussifications of the USA. Something else that others cannot do for themselves and now expect everyone to simply accept being force-fed and not complain about it. It’s the same thing with the local government. I just moved to this county 6 months ago, and over the summer received repeated robocalls telling me about impending thunderstorms. Are you serious? It’s bad enough I have to listen to the alert signals and watch the stupid icons during my favorite TV show. NOW you’re going to call my house as well? Unacceptable. I didn’t sign for it. Take me off your list.

    1. Barb says:

      You’re a whiny little prick- do you know that? Real working class people are busting their ass and only have time to worry about things that actually matter. To hell with you and your pettiness!

      1. Michael C. Metalios says:

        I have a full time job. I support two children and a wife. And I bust my ass right along side you my dear. It’s shame you don’t have anything more interesting to add to the conversation.

      2. Barb says:

        I have already added “interesting” things to the conversation, baby doll. See my above posts. I stand by my comment to you. If you have the time to whine about something like this, you are NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!

    2. JW says:

      Really? And when your child’s school has a tremendous emergency situation and you don’t receive notification because you are too lazy to turn down the ringer on your phone then you’ll be yelling too. Why not just have the number blocked if it bothers you that much? There is something that you can do for yourself, just like turning down your ringer. Isn’t that what you said? That people should do things for themselves? Give it a shot yourself, sir.

      1. Michael C. Metalios says:

        Fair enough retort. However the issue still stands that I did not ask for this. I didn’t consent to it. It’s akin to spam. Just because I submit my contact information for the school to notify me in the event of an emergency about my child, suddenly I need to know that because there is 1 inch of snow on the ground that my child will be going in 2 hours late? I will find this out when my alarm goes off 1.5 hours later and I hear it on the radio, thanks.

    3. JW says:

      I would suggest that when you decided to have children you opted to receive information about their schooling and that sometimes the phone is going to ring when you don’t want it to. You are “connected” – good. But not everyone is the same as you, and I would suggest there’s a good part of he population that actually views this service as something that makes life easier – it’s much nicer for some people to be able to pick up the phone to find that school is closed than to get up and sit and watch t.v. for an hour to wait and see if the school system is closed. That’s not your opinion, and that’s fine, but the schools are trying to do what they can to communicate important information to parents, but as usual there have to be people in the population to complain and condemn the schools for not doing something they want. I don’t fault you for not wanting a 4:30 a.m. call if you already have a plan in place, but I think there’s a way to handle it (having the number blocked, for example, or giving a number that isn’t going to wake you at night, like your work number, or maybe your landline or a phone that you are able to feel you can turn off at night – I’m sure there are at least 2 phone numbers in your home, not to mention work) rather than getting furious at the school system or taking anger out on school employees. But as I’ve previously alluded to, I think you might rather have a few unnecessary calls rather than miss the call that tells you there’s a horrible emergency at the school, which is what would happen if your name was not on the list.

  23. Bob Disney says:

    I was ready to do the same thing up here in Pennsylvania the other day, I work 3rd shift so I keep an eye on things like that anyhow during snow events. But I came home to find my wife upset about a call at 4:30am as well from the Hanover School District stating the exact same thing – she was ticked. We are adults we know to check on certain situations like this, we do not need a phone call at that time of the morning from anyone to tell us that our schools are opening late, or closed. I told my wife, I wonder how teh school board would like it if we woke them up at 3 in the morning asking them are we opening erly or late next time the weather gets rough. I am glad he did it

    1. JW says:

      Perhaps you should step outside of your own limited world and consider that there are people who need that phone call and need that amount of notice in order to secure transportation or care for their child. Additionally, with high schools starting as early as 7 a.m., a 4:30 call is not unreasonable. If you don’t like it, turn your ringer down. But you’re not the only parents in the district – consider someone other than yourself.

      1. FrontOfficeSecy says:

        I agree with you, JW. I know that there are some of our kids in our high school that have to catch the bus by 6:30 a.m. I work in the front office of a high school and have to be there at 7:00 a.m…..which means I have to leave the house by 6:00 a.m I’m also the mother of a student and parents do need to make arrangements for transportation at times like this.

        Our district doesn’t put the “Connect-Ed” calls out for delays but they do put them out if your student isn’t in class that day, if there are any important events coming up at the school that parents should be aware of. Years ago they used to send home newsletters for this. They now put their newsletters online because the parents weren’t receiving the letters that their kids were supposed to bringing home to them. It’s very costly to have to print out anywhere from 1,200-2,000 newsletters and put them in the mail. I know from working in the school that not every parent has access to the Internet and they welcome the phone calls. I’ve had some parents telling me this. So, like JW suggests, if anyone doesn’t want their phone to ring during the night….just turn the ringer off. There’s no need for all of the drama and I agree that the ones that complain about this would be the first ones to complain if they didn’t get a call if their was a true emergency.

  24. Dave says:

    Michael C. Metalios you too are a total tool!

      1. Michael C. Metalios says:

        Wow. What insightful replies. Thanks. People like you really help those of us who are discussing issues such as these to make progress.

        For the record, my children are in Elementary school. I fully understand the need to have a heads up for transportation arrangements and the like. But, again. I get up early enough to make such arrangements should I discover that my children will be late to school or staying home. When my oldest moves on to middle school, the alarm clock will be set earlier. Again allotting enough time for me to make arrangements should an adjustment to my child’s schedule be necessary.

        So you see, I AM doing things for myself. I’ve planned ahead and will be ready Tuesday morning if there’s an unexpected snowstorm overnight and they don’t go to school. It just takes a little preparation. I don’t need – nor do I want – the school system holding my hand for such situations. I expect a phone call when my child has broken a finger, or is having trouble with a subject. Not because it’s snowing.

      2. JW says:

        Michael, what you are neglecting to understand is that while your children are in elementary school, there are parents who have children in high school. Busses for high schools pick up during the 6 a.m. hour to get students to school by the approximate 7 o’clock start time. So, it is not unreasonable that a parent of a high schooler would need to know that school is closed by 4:30 a.m.. This is what I mean by thinking outside of one’s own world. While you may have a plan in place, and you may have students in elementary school, can we concede that not everyone is perfect, not everyone has a stay at home wife, not everyone has a helpful spouse, or anyone at all to help with the children, and/or not everyone has an understanding employer, meaning that some people need that notice. Furthermore, not always is it clear that school is going to be closed or delayed – sometimes there are unexpected closings (i.e. water main breaks, etc) and the ConnectEd calling system ensures that all parents are properly informed whether there is a major emergency during school hours or a delay outside of school hours. This program is in place for a reason, and while you may personally find that you do not need something like this, it appears that there are a great deal of people who do (as evidenced by several posts from school secretaries and other employees). I can see how this could be annoying,but once again I suggest blocking the number if you choose not to turn your ringer down or off. But then don’t complain when a true emergency occurs and you aren’t aware of it.

  25. JW says:

    To answer the question of what this man does for a living, he’s an attorney and as judged by his blog he spends most of his time complaining, so this is certainly par for the course for this guy. He’s unable to step outside the box of his limited, small world and understand that there are people who do need a call at 4:30 a.m. in order to secure alternate transportation or care for their child, or make alternate arrangements for their job. Not everyone is a swanky attorney, after all, with a wife that stays at home. He’s behaving like a spoiled brat and his wife should be mortified to even be married to him, much less being quoted in the article. Were I her, I would be embarrassed to show my face at the childrens’ school. They have a bunch of children including a newborn – he couldn’t find any better way to channel his energy than this? Shameful, childish, selfish behavior and a poor model for his children. Perhaps he should use some of the energy that it took to be so snarky to instead learn how to turn the ringer down on the phone. Or buy earplugs. Or seek therapy to cure his ridiculous negative and selfish attitude.

  26. Mike likes Ike says:

    Metalios, you too are a moron! Go back to rosedale if your so unhappy with the county you live in…no one asked you to move here! Progress? what progress are you making on this forum crying and whining about a stuipd robocall thats purpose was to help parents plan accordingly for their child’s transportation and school day…they werent calling at 430am to give you the lunch menu for that day or to remind you to send in your child’s permission slip for an upcoming field trip! You like mr titus need to get a live, the world doesnt revolve around selfish idiots like yourselves! No one cares what you do for you do or appreciates your holier than thou attitude, gimme a break loser!

  27. m.williams says:

    What a jerk and his wife, too. I work for a high school and you wouldn’t believe the amount of phone calls we received because we personally didn’t call each and every parent individually. Please make this jerk go away. I can’t believe this is news. I would rather watch paint dry. It’s no wonder WBAL is ahead of WJZ in ratings.

  28. Danielle Gerecht says:

    wow so i just read alot of this and yall need to realize that its a matter of opinion… some like the calls some dont….my kids r still young but if i remember correctly high school goes in first n still they done have to be at a bus till about 6 am probably at the earliest…. so why is it necessary to call at 430??? and to Michael C. Metalios i agree w/ alot that you said… dont let the children bother u w/ their name calling

  29. CarriB says:

    Personally I have asked to be taken off the list, I work overnight and I am home during the day so I can be there if the kids need something, besides with the day and age of the cell phone, I don’t miss anything.. even if I want to. I would not be angry if I so called ‘missed’ something. I will still argue to have my name taken off that list! Just like I argue I have worked overnights for five long years and still the schools call me at work ( I make a notation on the emergency cards too) Too quick to ‘hurry’ along

  30. CarriB says:

    Also JW I guess if you have one child in the schools it’s not so bad, I have 3 in one school 1 in another.. so yes four calls a night.. quite disturbing!

    1. JW says:

      I’m not sure why you’d receive 4 calls. It should be 1 from one school and 1 from the other. I can see why it would be annoying, or disturbing, but why not just give a phone number that isn’t going to bother you (your work phone, a landline you can afford to just turn down, or your cell phone, on which you can easily press “ignore” and end the problem altogether). Also, you could block the phone numbers. I understand it’s annoying, but is it really worth calling the Superintendent and others to be whiney and petulant like this guy? Isn’t there another way to get what one wants? I guarantee the school secretaries are not allowed or able to take your name and number off that calling system. But I am sure if you went far enough and signed some piece of paperwork, you’d be able to get taken off the list. Understand that while you find it annoying, a lot of people do appreciate the calls, and furthermore it is a really useful system when there is a true emergency. That said, I’m not arguing whether or not it’s annoying, disturbing, etc, though. I’m suggesting that maybe there are more productive or more effective ways of dealing with a situation such as this rather than getting angry or rude with school personnel and sinking to petulant, childish, and spiteful activities such as Mr. Titus did.

  31. CarriB says:

    Sorry one more thing.. I am the only one who has read and signed the waiver that in case of a drastic emergency and the school can not notify the parents the school has my permission to send my child(ren) home via walker, bus or cab… ??? I mean really? Maybe everyone else is a bit more reserve and more power to you for it. Maybe some of you don’t have middle or high school kids and get the phone calls some of these schools put out every day for every little thing, including fund raisers pta ect. I mean I didn’t join the pta why the hell do I car at 6pm or 8pm when and why they are metting? This is my time to be home with my kids ( on my nights off) do spend time talking or watching tv not to mention homework! I don’t want four of the same calls!!! I agree I am not sure why this is top news.. but I just can’t disagree with this man.

    1. JW says:

      Carri, the school system has a lot of situations that it must cover to ensure the safety of your child as well as to meet legal obligations. That waiver is intended, I would think, for a situation in which it is more harmful to keep the child at school than to wait for pick up (gas leak, fire, etc).If they send out the phone message and you choose not to pick up your child, than they have the legal right to send your child home in order to prevent the child, and other school workers, from being harmed by remaining at the school. But another phone call from the system that you might get in an emergency situation could be something like a school shooting, a hostage situation, or something else that means that your child is possibly in danger. In that situation it may not really matter if you can get to the school or not, regardless of your job, as the school may be on lockdown. But wouldn’t you want to know that information? If you don’t care to know that, then that’s fair enough. But honestly, I think most people would rather receive a few annoying phone calls rather than miss hearing really highly important information should a situation like that ever occur at their child’s school.

  32. Up at Dawn says:

    No matter how you try to rationalize it, what this guy did was spoiled, inconsiderate and petty. I have raised a child, and it is a lot easier to pick up a phone, listen to a brief announcement and go back to sleep, than it is to monitor the news and closing announcements all night. And why am I even responding to this nonsense? My life must be in need of a life or something. Did anyone ever figure out how this became news in the first place?

  33. Still Up says:

    You know, even though I was among the first to denounce what this guy did, as a petty reaction to a petty incident that should never have made the new in the first place; When I think more about it in comparison to other things going on in the world, what he did was rather sane. I still think it was petty and uncalled for, but at least he didn’t get a gun, and go shoot up the school board. That being said, I still think we should keep an eye on him.

    1. shirlee says:

      It scares me that he is raising children

  34. Up Again says:

    Oh, and definitely put his number on the no-call list.

  35. Chuck says:

    Getting a call at 4:30 a.m. is damned stupid. Many people who have commented live in the area and seem not to have a problem with receiving a routine call at 4:30 a.m.
    What I suggest to Michael Metalios and the father who made the robocalls is that they consider moving out of the area. I used to live in this part of Maryland and found the people to have an incredibly stupid mindset. I moved away, and am much happier.

  36. Up Chuck says:

    I’m sure a lot of people are much happier Chuck.

  37. Shirlee says:

    Grow up Aaaron…really? My children are long out of school; but I wish we would have had courtesy phone calls like that. If you don’t want the courtesy—turn off your ringer or ask the school toremove you from all calls—–better yet–find something productive to do with your time instead of being an immature person–it scares me to think you are raising children.

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