Ousted Ogden principal shared confidential student information in email
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Nearly two months after Ogden International School of Chicago’s principal was ousted after accusations of falsifying attendance records, Chicago Public School officials have found that the former principal shared confidential student information in an email.
Dr. Michael Beyer, who was “reassigned” over allegations that he improperly used out-of-district and home-school transfer codes to help students avoid unexcused absences for long vacations, is accused of sending the information via a Google Drive folder in August.
School officials learned on Dec. 19 that Beyer sent an email in which he shared a folder that contained employee ratings and evaluations from the 2017-2018 school year, according to a letter sent to parents Thursday by CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade and a spokesperson for the school district.
Two days later, they learned the folder also contained private student information – including student identification numbers, grades, standardized test scores and email addresses, McDade said.
Due to file settings chosen by Beyer – that weren’t authorized by CPS – the information was available to anyone who received the email with a link to the folder for at least three months. CPS deactivated the link as soon as they were aware of the security breach, according to McDade and a CPS spokesperson.
According to McDade, the personal student information shared posed no security risk, but to be on the safe side, students’ whose identification numbers were shared would be assigned new numbers over the summer.
Beyer was recommended for termination and the district plans to retrain staff members on the protection of personal information, according to CPS spokesperson Michael Passman.
“At CPS, we take our responsibility to protect student information very seriously,” McDade said, adding that the disclosure of the information was “unacceptable and prohibited by CPS policy and state and federal law.”
In the letter, McDade also warned parents that a community member received a copy of the email as part of a CPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request, and posted the email – along with other CPS responses to FOIA requests – on a personal website.
That person, who was not identified, also may have shared the information via other electronic means, she said.
CPS officials were urging anyone who received the information to dispose of its contents, to alert CPS of anyone the email was shared with, and delete emails, documents and downloaded files.