Virginia Parent Says School District Accidentally Released Confidential Records To Her

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A Virginia school district apparently released thousands of confidential student records to one of their harshest privacy critics, The 74 Million reported. 

Fairfax County Public Schools reportedly sent thousands of records identifying special education students by name to Callie Oettinger, a parent advocate who has been highly critical of the district’s alleged privacy breaches, according to The 74 Million.  

Oettinger reportedly received the accidental document dump after requesting records on her own child. In addition to boxes of files, she received flash drives from the district with the personal data of what she estimates is 35,000 students, according to The 74 Million. 

The treasure trove of data included sensitive details about thousands of special education students, including letters from counselors providing specifics about conditions such as depression, self harm and sexual assault, per The 74 Million.  

“Why worry about people from the outside?” Oettinger asked, according to the outlet. “They’ve got the door wide open from the inside.”

The leak, though apparently the district’s largest, is not it’s first. Oettinger claims they have released her son’s information to other parents and unauthorized parties. She also claims the district has given her information on other children at least six separate times, per The 74 Million.  

This incident comes four years after the district’s former superintendent reportedly apologized to Oettinger for another disclosure. 

One parent, whose child’s records were allegedly released to Oettinger in this latest snafu, said, “Is my kid, for the rest of his life, going to have to look over his shoulder to see what Fairfax is putting out there?” 

The district. which has an estimated $3.5 billion yearly budget, per The 74 Million, has vowed to do better. But Oettinger says they haven’t. (24-Year-Old Teacher Busted For Allegedly Sending Nudes To 16-Year-Old Student)

I’ve filed state complaints on [Fairfax County Public Schools] privacy violations for years,” she tweeted at Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Yet, here we are. FCPS failed to secure the privacy of 35,000+ students & its emails, invoices, etc…”

Former Superintendent Scott Brabrand in 2019 emailed Oettinger and promised the district would do a better job at protecting students’ privacy.

“I am sorry to report that the school did make a mistake and unintentionally provided information about your son to another parent,” Brabrand wrote. “We take student privacy very seriously. Following our process and protocols is paramount to ensuring we protect student information.”