Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Ford: Privacy Breach Fixed ; Superintendent Says Data Is Now Protected Online

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Ford: Privacy Breach Fixed ; Superintendent Says Data Is Now Protected Online

Article excerpt

Topeka Unified School District 501 superintendent Julie Ford said Thursday the district has fixed a student data breach by removing the information from the computer platform that had enabled unauthorized access.

"Overall it has been a learning experience," Ford said of the recent revelation that some educators who shouldn't have been able to could view the information.

The data in question identifies which children come from low- income families and is protected by federal law as confidential.

The Topeka Capital-Journal first reported the problem on Aug. 11. Last week, USD 501 attempted to fix it by restricting access to the data on PowerSchool, a student information portal.

This week The Capital-Journal learned the data was still accessible.

Ford noted someone in the district had passed this information to the newspaper and said she would like USD 501 employees to inform her and other top administrators when they discover such problems.

She said the district has now addressed the problem by removing the data from PowerSchool.

Separately, she amended her earlier statement that four schools had posted the confidential information on coded visual displays of student data in their buildings. Further review indicated only two schools had done so, she said. She didn't name the schools.

On Tuesday, The Capital-Journal requested the names of the schools that displayed the data.

Board members didn't discuss the data situation further but said they had visited local schools starting up for the school year and were encouraged by the energy they saw there.

Board member Michael Morrison said he feels teachers would like to see board members present in their schools more often, and he plans on visiting schools more regularly.

Meanwhile, the school board approved a new contract with its teachers. …

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