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CPS Deserves a Detention

By Olivia Leigh in News on Nov 28, 2006 4:55PM

We’ve been told many things over the years, guidelines we should follow to ensure a safe and happy life. Don’t get in a car with strangers. Drink your milk. Look both ways before crossing the street. Don’t give out your Social Security Number.

For 1,740 former Chicago Public Schools teachers, however, that last bit of advice was for naught, as their SSNs and home addresses were mistakenly included in a mailing about health care coverage.

2006_11_SSIThe sensitive data was part of an e-mail sent to Broadview-based All Printing and Graphics, which printed and mailed the document. The e-mail, sent by CPS, “requested that the company send open enrollment information to former employees still receiving health-care coverage through the school.”

Ralph Fowlkes, the general manager of All Printing & Graphic said they did not realize the e-mail contained the SSNs and addresses and said “it’s just human error. … We certainly apologize for the mix-up.”

What is CPS offering in return for the fear and uncertainty that may have resulted from this error? A letter of apology and thanks to those teachers who shredded the document, with instructions to mail back any non-destroyed copies. The letter will also include information about credit-card and identity-theft protection — a bit of a slap in the face considering their predicament.

While we’re not exactly chock full of possible ways to remedy this situation, we can’t imagine that a little condolence and generic identity-theft protection information would quell our fears of financial ruin. We have some idealistic views of teachers and hope that they act in the most responsible manner, but we can imagine that a crook would be willing to pay a pretty penny for a list of 1,740 individuals’ SSNs and home addresses.