Lake Elsinore Unified School District

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Morgan Hill Case: CDE Voices Strong Support for Protecting Student Privacy

Message #2 (posted 3/14/16)
A federal court order for student information has been amended to protect sensitive student data from being released by the California Department of Education. This means that concerns over a court ordered release of student data have been heard by the court.
 
In a March 4th news release, CDE Chief Tom Torlakson said, "The court has heard loud and clear from California's families that they want their students' privacy protected. This is a good first step. The court responded to these concerns and ordered additional measures to safeguard data...The California Department of Education will continue to fight vigorously to protect student privacy rights as this case proceeds." Read the full News Release "Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Applauds Federal Court Order Strengthening Student Privacy Protections in Morgan Hill Case" (Release #16-18, Mar. 4, 2016). 

In her March 1 order, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller noted the large number of objections to the potential release of student data received by the court following the posting of the Notice of Disclosure of Student Records on February 1. In response to the objections, the court ordered that the CDE maintain custody of the most sensitive of its databases, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), while running searches for information requested by the plaintiffs. The court also reiterated that no student personally identifiable information may be released to the plaintiffs unless and until they demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that the method to be used to store the sensitive student data is secure (emphasis added). The parties are still litigating the extent of the disclosure of student data. (See message #1 below for further details related to this case and a parental objection procedure, which may still be followed in this case.)

 
Message #1 (posted 2/18/16)
The court order came as the result of a lawsuit against the California Department of Education (CDE) in April 2012 filed by two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parents Association, alleging systemic non-compliance by local educational agencies with the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The CDE denies these allegations.

A person can object by printing out, completing, and mailing to the court the “Objection to Disclosure of Student Information and Records Case No. 2:11-CV-03471” form at the CDE’s Web site at www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase.

Alternatively, a parent, guardian, or former student can write a confidential letter to the judge, including the name of the student on whose behalf the letter is written, the author’s name and relationship to the student, the student’s date of birth, county, school district, and school, and, if desired, the basis of your objection.

Letters or Objection forms should be mailed to the Honorable Kimberly J. Mueller c/o Clerk of the Court, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, 501 I Street, Room 4-200, Sacramento, CA, 95814.

The CDE has consistently fought requests by the plaintiffs to produce documents that contain the personally identifiable information of students. The court order can be found here: Notice of Disclosure of Student Records. (See the 2/26/16  P-E news article about CDE's position.)

For more information, view two Web pages from CDE State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson:

Voicing Strong Support for Protecting Student Privacy” (an official CDE press release)

Objections to Disclosure of Student Records (in English and Spanish. This link gives ways to object to disclosure)

 
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