The personal information, including social security number and home addresses for literally millions of California public school attendees may be released later this year to a small group of individuals who filed a complaint with the California Department of Education alleging that local California school districts have routinely failed to provide adequate services to students with special needs. The Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association alleges that California public schools have failed to properly identify special needs students at early ages and have failed to complete and put in place individualized education programs (IEP) for students with disabilities. In order to prove their allegations, they association has asked for access to personal information on all students who attended public schools in California between 2008 and 2012.
Earlier this month a US District Court Judge issued a court order authorizing the release of the information to the parents’ association, spurring privacy concerns. The parents association believes that local California public school systems may have routinely violated federal and/or state laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This Act requires that schools provide “free appropriate public education” to all students, which means that schools must provide special education and related services in order to meet the educational needs of its disabled students.
Concerns over data security
Many individuals and groups are justifiably concerned over the security of the personal information. Indeed, having access to some 10 million personal records, including social security numbers, is pretty much a hackers dream come true. The parents association has suggested that only a small handful of people will have access to the data and promised that “every possible precaution is underway to safeguard the data”. This is small comfort though to many parents who view the original data request as overreaching and concerning.
Parents who are concerned about the possible disclosure of their child’s personal information do have the opportunity to object to the court order granting the release of information. Unfortunately this objection may not actually exempt individual children and their data from the release, as honoring the objection is up to the discretion of the court.
If you believe you and your child may be impacted by this data release and you have questions or concerns, contact our office today to speak to one of our experienced education law specialists. Our education lawyers at Kosnett Law Firm work with students from grade school to grad school in public and private schools and higher education institutions throughout Central and Southern California. We are one of the few firms experienced in dealing with both public and private schools. We have successfully resolved disputes involving school districts, trade schools, religious schools, colleges, and universities. As one of Los Angeles’ premier education law firms, our education attorneys are prepared to represent you or your child’s interests in any school law matter. Contact Kosnett Law today for a free consultation today at 310-751-0446.