Schools chief: Some Key West students' personal information inadvertently released with FCAT writing results

May 31, 2014 

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is used statewide.

KEYSINFONET

Social Security numbers and other "personally identifiable student information" was inadvertently released when the Monroe County School District disseminated some of the results of Key West High School 10th-graders' Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, Superintendent Mark Porter said.

The information was part of the release of the students' test results in writing, he said Monday.

Porter said a teacher was distributing the FCAT results to students electronically after receiving them from the state Department of Education. A spreadsheet containing the Social Security numbers of all students who took the 10th-grade writing FCAT was "embedded" in the files, he said.

About 65 students received the e-mails with the scores and Social Security numbers, and the embedded spreadsheet contained the private information of 290 students. So those 65 students could see the personal information of all of those 290 students, he said.

Porter said the underlying problem is DOE using Social Security numbers as student identifiers. He'd prefer the department create a system in use by large companies in which employees have employee ID numbers that are not their Social Security numbers.

"We've had an initial contact with DOE," the superintendent said Monday. "I'm waiting for more information."

In the meantime, the affected students and their families have been contacted and work has started on minimizing the effect of the breach, he said.

"We take very seriously the obligation we have to protect student data and will do all we can to assist parents as necessary in responding to this situation," Porter said.

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