CPS Employee Improperly Gave Students' Mailing Addresses To Charter Network

By aaroncynic in News on Nov 18, 2016 7:15PM

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Demonstrators in front of Chicago Public Schools headquarters on Madison Street during the Chicago Teachers Union "day of action" on April 1, 2016. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

Chicago Public Schools says its investigating an employee for allegedly turning over personal information of families to the Noble Charter School Network.

In a letter given to the Sun-Times, the District said the employee leaked student names, grades, home addresses and current schools to the charter network, which resulted in promotional mailers being sent to parents as the Chicago Teachers Union was set to strike.

According to a late-September report by ABC7, hundreds of parents complained about their homes receiving full-color, glossy mailers from the network addressed to their children urging them to switch schools. The mailings came just before CPS finished doing its official student count and while a CTU strike seemed almost certain.

“It’s important people understand the gravity of the situation,” Jeff Jenkins, the parent of an 11-year old who received one such mailer, told the Sun-Times. “Your kid’s information is out there, and God only knows how much of it. Why does Noble feel like they can do this?

While it’s unclear how the information was transferred, CPS said it’s suspended the employee’s access to student data.

“This action was not authorized by the District,” wrote CPS Chief Information Officer Phillip DiBartolo in his letter to the affected families. “We deeply regret this violation of your privacy.” He also told parents that the Noble network confirmed to the District that the information has since been removed.

In an email to WTTW, the Noble network said it had disciplined its employee that was involved. “We have tightened our student information policies and formally disciplined the Noble employees in question,” wrote Noble Communications Director Cody Roger. “We take extraordinarily seriously the trust families place in us to safeguard student information and provide high-quality public education for their children."