Monday, April 6, 2015

Schools release private student data - Tewksbury Town Crier: News

Schools release private student data - Tewksbury Town Crier: News

By Brendan Foley and Jayne Miller

Special Education Department publishes list grading parents on ‘cooperativeness’

Tewksbury Public Schools face angry parental backlash following the
release of private student information online last week. A document
included in a 222-page School Committee packet remained online for the
better part of a week, before being taken down Monday.

Awareness of the data, which details private
information for the out of district placements of 83 students and rates
their parents according to their “cooperativeness” with the district,
raised outrage on social media over the weekend.

In December the district blamed a projected $2
million shortfall for FY2016 on ‘skyrocketing’ out of district costs,
and said that it could not implement a proposed free full-day
kindergarten program as a result. That action generated distrust and
backlash by the special education community, and this most recent
release of data has parents ready to file complaints at the state and
federal levels.

The seven-page memo from Rick Pelletier, Director
of Student Services, to the Superintendent was included in the School
Committee packet as part of its budget justification package last week.
The memo includes a spreadsheet that listed all the students with out of
district placements – and also included a ranking on ‘parental
cooperativeness.’ The amount of data included could indicate a violation
of state and federal law.

The list, which replaces student names with
numbers, remains in alphabetical order. Information included the
student’s current grade, the out-of-district school, the last school
attended, the year the student began attending the new school,
information on whether or not the decision was made by the IEP team, a
legal settlement (typically kept strictly confidential), or if the
student moved in from another town, and miscellaneous detail such as the
involvement of the Department of Children and Families, passage of MCAS
assessments, and more.

The office of Student Services also published its
rating of parents according to their ‘cooperativeness with the
district.’ Parents rated a ‘1’ are cooperative, ‘2’ somewhat
cooperative, and those rated ‘3’ are ‘not cooperative.’

The Town Crier could easily identify seven
families included in the list, and was contacted by others that could
identify more families based on the material in the sheet. The Town
Crier will not publish the names of the families, nor the document, out
of consideration for the privacy of the families and in accordance with
state and federal law.

To read the rest of the story go to Tewksbury Town Crier.

I hope parents soon realize that many school employees just think of you as a money source, and pawns in their little jobs program that they want to maintain for themselves.   They are not as concerned about education as they are about keeping their cushy jobs, benefits package, and retirement packages.  They just want people to shut up and do as they say.

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