The Nanaimo school district said it will be more diligent following an incident where students’ personal information was accidentally given to the wrong parents.
— Scott Kimler (@randsco) September 25, 2015
The district is using the new MyEducation B.C. system from the province and according to Dale Burgos, school district spokesman, on Sept. 8, the district discovered there were issues with printing on student information verification forms.
“It’s new for us this year and you can print the forms from that student information software. Now the thing with that is, when you print off the forms, you can do a two-pager, back-to-back completely fine,” said Burgos. “When it looks like you do a three-pager, what happens on the back of that third page is a new student’s information is printed.”
Burgos said the incident occurred at some of the district’s secondary schools and the issue was addressed immediately, with principals pulling and destroying forms that hadn’t been yet distributed to students.
“To be on the safe side, we always have to follow procedure whenever there’s a potential that [there is] a breach,” said Burgos. “We have to let the [Ministry of Education] know, let the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner know and, most importantly, letting the families know.”
Schools called families to inform them of the situation and asked that forms be returned or destroyed. Burgos said a letter from John Blain, school district superintendent, was sent home as well.
To remedy the situation, schools will now print one-sided individual sheets, said Burgos, and will triple-check to ensure the student information is verified by staff before being sent out. He said it will be a good learning piece.
For its part, the ministry said this was a case of user error. When sending home sensitive, personal information, schools should ensure materials have been printed correctly before sending them out, it said.