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School District Accidentally Emails Out Student Info For Thousands

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Parents in the east Twin Cities metro are outraged after the release of bus schedule information led to the accidental release of personal information of thousands of students.

The leak impacts more than 9,600 students in South Washington County Schools.

District officials released a statement on the matter early Thursday afternoon. They are blaming this all on an employee error, saying both private and public information was included in that e-mail attachment.

This all happened because a document containing the data was attached to an email sent to parents Wednesday night that was supposed to contain only their own*children's transportation information for the upcoming school year. Instead, a document containing the private information of more than 9,600 students was released. It included names, grades, student identification numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, bus routes, pick-ups and drop-off times and locations and the school that child attended.

One grandmother who didn't want to show her face on camera told WCCO her grandchildren's information was a part of the breach.  The most concerning part of this ordeal for her is the home addresses that were published.

"There's people that aren't listed because they don't want their information in a directory. She was a guard in a prison and since she isn't there anymore, she wants nobody knowing where she lives, what her phone number is, somebody like that," one person said.

Typically, laws like FERPA protect this sort of information. The school acknowledges that some of the information sent out was supposed to remain private.

A school board meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in southwest Washington County. Many parents plan on attending in the wake of this breach.

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