Some Confidential USD 501 Student Data Available

By: Associated Press, Nick Viviani
By: Associated Press, Nick Viviani

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Some educators in the Topeka school district have had illegal access to data that identifies students from low-income families, which is legally protected as confidential, according to a newspaper report.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported this week that principals and other educators were able to see the data through the district's student information platform called PowerSchool. The data is used to determine which students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

Although Superintendent Julie Ford assured the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday that the problem had been fixed, the Capital-Journal reports that was not the case, after a person who is not legally allowed to review the data provided samples to the newspaper.

On Wednesday, the district shut down a data-exporting function in PowerSchool that was allowing the leak.

Thursday night, USD 501 officials reassured parents that they are taking steps to insure student information remains confidential.

The school district said they thought they removed the access points to the information, but the report by the Topeka Captial-Journal revealed the information was still accessible.

The district said it went back and, as of 5:20 pm Thursday, the information is accessible to no one. They continue working with the Kansas Department of Education on the problem.


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