California – Keep Your Child’s School Data Safe

If Your Child Has Attended School in California Since 2008 – Head’s Up Their Public School Record (Private Data) is About to Be Shared without Your Permission

Short Description: Due to a court order in a current lawsuit (the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Assoc. and Concerned Parents vs the California Dept of Education, Case #2:211-CV-03471-KJM-AC) the California Dept of Education will be disclosing (sharing) the school record (private information) of all children who have attended a school in California since Jan 1, 2008.  The information will be shared with the parties involved in the suit, their attorneys and consultants, and the Court unless you specifically write and request that your child’s information not be shared.  Additionally, according to the court order, this information is not supposed to be made public and will be either destroyed or returned at the end of the lawsuit.

School Record - Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Assoc. and Concerned Parents vs the California Dept of Education, Case #2:211-CV-03471-KJM-AC

I learned of this disclosure last week in a San Jose Mercury News article, “10 million California student records about to be released to attorneys“.  My first thought of course was how do I protect my children’s private information because the article referenced social security numbers. But not all school districts require or use a child’s social security number.  However, I noticed that included in the examples of information that might be shared is ‘demographics’. This raised red flags with me because demographics (as listed on the California Department of Education website) are Student’s name, identification number, address, race/ethnicity, gender, date of birth, place of birth, name and address of parent or guardian.

Am I Blowing This Situation out of Proportion?

Possibly and I hope so.  But this is the type of situation that I appreciate someone sharing with me.  If everything goes according to plan, the student’s private information will be shared (disclosed) with the parties involved, the suit settled quickly and the information returned or destroyed. But, and there is a but, it is possible that the lawsuit could drag on or the information released/lost/backed up onto someone’s server.

How Can You Keep Your Child’s School Record From Being Released?

If you object to having your child’s private information included, you must send a letter to the Clerk of the Court (link here). The letter must be received by April 1, 2016.

Note: When I use the term ‘parents’ I am also including the children who were in school but are now adults.  For example, if you know someone that was attending a high school in California in 2008 (which would make them 25-27 years of age now) their private data would also be included.

Why Should You Share this Information With Your Friends Outside the State of California?

The qualification is ‘attended school in California Jan 1, 2008 and afterwards’.  Do your children have friends with whom they went to school with during that time that have moved away from California?  As an example, two of my son’s best friends from elementary school have moved outside of the state of California, but they attended a California school during the time period so it is possible that their public school records will be disclosed.

So What’s Next?

My suggestions are:
1) Send a letter removing your child’s information.
2) Think about your adult children and remove their information (if applicable).
3) Be a friend and share this information with your friends both inside and outside the state of California.

Some Relevant Links and the Lawsuit and Sharing of Student School Records

Notice of Disclosure of Student Records (Private Data)
California Dept of Education (information web page) Objections to Disclosure of Student Records
California Dept of Education Objection Form Letter and Instructions
California Dept of Education (web page) Listing of Information in Student Private Records

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