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HomeNewsShould emails with personal information about students be public access?

Should emails with personal information about students be public access?

A concerned parent is sounding the alarm on what he calls a lack of privacy when it comes to sensitive information shared between parents and teachers.

Darcy Repen submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to School District 54 for information during his time as mayor and was shocked when uncensored email regarding his and other children were included in the documents.

Repen said the FOI office called the email about another parents child an error but is still asking why he was able to access personal information in the first place.

“What I was really blown away by is the lack of redaction and the content. I received a confidential email between another parent and a teacher, and beyond that, the whole package was forwarded without my knowledge or consent to other people.”

The School District FOI Office did not respond to a request for comment however did send this reply to Repen.

“The School District retains the right to retain the communications given FIPPA(Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act). Communications to an employee through a school district email address are not considered confidential and are part of our business communications process and, therefore, are subject to FIPPA.”

“That just really blew my mind that we would be sharing information about our children with their teacher or other staff members and the school board does not consider that information to be confidential.”

He said he understands if a teacher has to relay concerns to other school officials, but in this case, the teacher had no knowledge other people had viewed their correspondence.

Dave Margerm Secretary-Treasurer for SD54 said the School Board is unable to comment on a specific issue for privacy concerns but takes student privacy very seriously.

“it’s not shared internally except on a need to know basis when it’s to help deliver educational services. District emails are district emails. It’s not a privacy issue with if they are school district emails.”

Repen said he requested in writing to meet with the Chair to discuss these issues on three separate occasions and has been refused each time.

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