BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Many families in Brownsburg were left confused by a mass text message sent out by an Army recruiter Monday. A commander for the local recruitment office said the mass text was sent by mistake.
More than 200 Brownsburg High School parents were added to the text thread. Many of them say they have no idea how the recruiter got their information or why they were specifically targeted this way.
CBS4 learned schools are actually required to turn over student contact information to army recruiters, unless families specifically opt out.
Brownsburg mom Nancy Baker said notifications just kept popping up on her phone Monday evening.
"Phone went off and when I looked down I had 99 text messages," Baker said.
She said she scrolled through all the messages and only saw random numbers.
"It was disturbing," Baker said.
The text from the army recruiter seemed to be addressed to parents of high schools seniors but Baker's son is a junior. The text sender described himself as a local recruiter and said: "With the end of the senior year coming if you've considered service with the Army or still trying to see what your options might be in the Army feel free to give me a call or text me and I'd be happy to help you."
Screenshots of the texts obtained by CBS4 show at least 224 recipients.
"That was kinda scary at first because I was like 'Ok, who has got my information? '" Bake said. "At first, I kind of thought my phone had been hacked."
Fellow Brownsburg mom Melanie Hill was on the same text thread.
"[The thread] just keeps going off for every reply that someone made," Hill said. "So, you tried to leave the conversation and every reply it just starts back up again. I had to shut my phone down to stop it."
The commander from the Metro North recruitment office said they are handling the situation internally. He explained what went wrong.
"Instead of pushing in individual phone numbers, the recruiter accidentally made a list and then sent it out massively," said Capt. Cory Brown, the company commander for the Metro North office.
A spokesperson for Brownsburg Schools say the district is required by law to provide directory information for high school students to official military recruiting representatives.
"Definitely inform us because I didn’t know that," Baker said.
Parents can opt out of being included in the directory. But, doing so also prevents colleges from getting their student's contact information.