WASHINGTON - The personal information for 2,000 homeless D.C. students was mistakenly published online and accessible for six months, school officials said.
According to D.C. Public Schools, the accidental disclosure took place after a spreadsheet with the students' information was provided to the D.C. Council. The spreadsheet was then posted on the council’s website.
The information included student names, birthdates, identification numbers, grade levels, attendance information, housing status and whether they qualified for special education and English Language Learner services.
D.C. Public Schools said they recently discovered that the spreadsheet was able to be accessed on the website from Feb. 5 to Aug. 9. The information was removed from the site on Aug. 9.
The school district said all families affected by the unauthorized data disclosure have been notified.
“Protection of student and family privacy is of utmost importance to DCPS and we consider this incident unacceptable,” Interim D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Amanda Alexander wrote in a letter sent to parents last Friday. “We apologize for this situation and want to assure you that we are taking steps to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.
“If you have any questions or concerns regarding this situation, or if you would like to review the information about your child described above, you can contact Tierra Washington, Homeless Children & Youth Program Specialist at 202-329-2049.”
In a statement to FOX 5, Alexander said:
“DCPS takes the safety and security of all student data seriously. Immediately after learning of the unauthorized disclosure, we began developing a plan to notify all affected families. Moving forward, DCPS will ensure that our personnel are fully aware of proper protocols around sensitive information so that the privacy of our students and families is always protected.”