Breach, Data Security

High school’s student data accidentally emailed to parent

Personal information for nearly 500 upcoming Page High School seniors in North Carolina was accidentally sent to the parent of a student earlier this month.

How many victims? 456 upcoming high school seniors.

What type of personal information? Student names, addresses, telephone numbers, course enrollments, grades, district-assigned identification numbers and other data found in student transcripts. Social Security numbers were not included.

What happened?  A school employee inadvertently sent the transcripts to the parent of a student on July 2. The parent realized there was an issue and contacted the school employee the next day. The employee asked the parent to delete the file and told the school what happened.

What was the response? North Carolina school district Guilford County Schools (GCS) began an investigation and worked through the July 4 weekend to secure the data file and confirm it was shared with just one outside person. School officials alerted affected students by phone and mail. GCS plans to review and strengthen data- sharing protocols.

Details: Authorized school personnel keep printed and electronic copies of student transcripts to answer questions, register students and complete course schedules during the summer when secure online access to the student database is unavailable. The employee is an authorized user.

Quote: “The employee who sent the file was emailing the guardian in response to unrelated questions and somehow accidentally attached the data file,” said Patrice Faison, principal of Page High.

“We work very hard in GCS to protect student privacy and data, and we are very sorry that this has occurred,” said GCS Superintendent Maurice Green. “Fortunately, this error was caught quickly so the exposure is limited.”

Source:, “Page High Employee Accidentally Shares Student Data,” July 8, 2013.

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