POWAY (CNS) - The Poway Unified School District announced Thursday that it will develop a new policy on handling student data, following the accidental
release of records of thousands of pupils to a parent.
According to the district, the parent made a Public Records Act request in early April for district communications that mentioned her or her children,
but she ended up with two compact discs that contained information on around 36,000 students.
The PUSD said the information did not include Social Security numbers, financial data or sensitive Individualized Education Program data, but it did
contain names and birthdates, student identification numbers, demographics, directory information, language fluency, and hearing and vision screening
A document also contained gifted education testing results -- for a program commonly known as GATE -- for around 1,750 students in the district,
which covers Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Penasquitos.
The parent, Gabriela Dow, turned over the CDs and her laptop computer to the District Attorney's Office, according to the district.
"At this point, we have determined there is no danger or threat to our students -- and families -- safety or identities,'' according to a district
statement. "No social security numbers or financial information was included, and the information was given to only one person and will subsequently be
destroyed. This person has represented that she did not share the CDs or the data on them with anyone other than the District Attorney's Office.''
The district said most PRA requests are handled in-house. But because of high volume, some were processed by the district's lawyers. The request by
Dow, who is active in San Diego's high-tech entrepreneurial community, involved around 9,500 emails, many with attachments.
As of Wednesday, all PRA requests will be handled in-house, and protected student data will be redacted from the documents, according to the
Poway Unified also said it would adopt a new policy regarding access to school records as soon as possible, provide ongoing training and consider other changes to make student records more secure.