North Swindon police had to apologize after using their sirens on a residential street to settle a debate among 4-year-olds over the sound their sirens make, The Guardian reports.

Police community support officers (PCSOs) were at the Haydonleigh primary school making a presentation to first-year students on emergency services when the students’ debate as to what sound police cars make came up. The officers, somehow forgetting that grown-ups assume the worst when those sirens go off, decided to settle this debate by turning them on.

The North Swindon Police made their apology on Facebook yesterday morning:

Apologies to anyone in the Haydonleigh area who may have been disturbed by our sirens yesterday morning – the PCSOs were at the Primary School having a very important debate with the new Reception Year children about whether they go nee-nah or woo-woo.

Alas, it was all for naught, as both factions of children are clearly wrong.

While the North Swindon police reported on their Facebook page that the “woo-woos” have it, as 60 children voted “woo woo” over the 28 who felt as if it sounds like “nee-nah,” the audio clip of a British police siren posted on The Guardian has a bit more nuance than either answer suggests. It’s more of a “wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh” than anything. The “nee-nah” side was closer, but adding in “n” sounds that aren’t there make it a garbage answer.

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Little kids, listen harder next time — especially if you’re going to convince the visiting police officers to disrupt an entire neighborhood.

Meanwhile, headteacher Frances Billinge is amused that her students’ curiosity has reached viral fame.

“I am so proud that it’s one innocent question from one of our four-year-olds and it’s gone global, with such enthusiasm,” Billinge told The Guardian. “Parents and staff are in bewilderment but it’s a real feeling of pride. And it’s hilarious.”

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Children were encouraged to recreate the noise when making their votes to settle the debate. While that sounds like it might be sort of adorable (what? I’m not completely cold-hearted), I’d imagine teachers were also encouraged to seek fresh bottles of ibuprofen well in advance.

Or gin. But don’t mix the two.

Photo credit: Getty Images


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.