Seattle Public Schools apologizes for unauthorized release of student information

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SEATTLE — Some student information was released by an outside contractor, Seattle Public Schools officials said Friday.

District officials said they quickly notified affected parents about the release and said they are working to return or destroy the information.

The Office of Public Affairs did not say how many students were affected.

Here is a copy of the letter sent by Seattle Public Schools to parents inquiring about the unauthorized release of information:

November 14, 2014

Thank you for your email regarding the unauthorized release of student information by an outside law firm contracted by the district. We fully appreciate and acknowledge the concern this has created for you and your family.

We realize our initial communications with families may not contain sufficient information to help alleviate your concerns and that is because we are currently in the process of confirming which students and families are impacted, what type of information was shared, and working to retrieve and destroy these information files. However, we did feel it was important to inform parents of the situation as soon as possible and for them to hear directly from us regarding this important matter.

We do want to confirm a few important facts for you:

  1. The student information that was shared by the law firm was given to a family member who is representing the student. At this time, we believe no other individuals have access to this information.  We immediately requested that files be returned or destroyed.
  2. A large majority of the student information released involves special education student files.
  3. We have removed the responsible law firm from this case and have been in contact with the appropriate state and federal agencies to confirm the appropriate course of action.

Families should know that the district takes this incident very seriously and are working quickly to confirm more details in order to communicate directly with our parents and families. Families of impacted students will receive a subsequent communication, and all families will get an update on the districts response to this issue.

We appreciate your support and patience as we carefully investigate and respond to the critically important need to protect student information.

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Larry Nyland

Superintendent

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