Personal student information sent to Surrey parents in error

Email incident involved 250 students at one school; privacy commissioner notified.

Personal student information sent to Surrey parents in error

The Surrey School District has alerted B.C.’s privacy commissioner and is reviewing its procedures after some personal student information was emailed to parents early this week.

District spokesman Doug Strachan said the incident involved about 250 students at a single school and the information was sent to parents at that school only.

He said while the email message was intended to include a document from Surrey’s superintendent about ongoing teacher job action, a staff person “inadvertently” attached another document. Strachan did not detail what type of information was included or what school was involved, as that would further breach student privacy.

“It wasn’t financial- or medical-related, but would be considered personal or private information under the Privacy Act,” said Strachan.

The school staff member noticed the error almost immediately, he said, and sent a follow-up email asking that parents delete the prior message containing the wrong attachment. The school district’s privacy officer was then notified and a letter was promptly prepared and sent to parents of students involved, explaining what happened and who to speak to about concerns or questions.

“Though not required, the district notified the privacy commissioner … to be prudent and to seek their advice,” said Strachan.

He added while the incident appears to have been human error, it’s being reviewed to ensure steps are taken to minimize the chances of something similar happening again.

 

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