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Open Letter from State Superintendent Kang re: Student Information Incident

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dear DC Community,

I am writing to share the unfortunate news that earlier this week, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) inadvertently made personally identifiable student information available through our responses to the DC Council for the fiscal year 2015 performance oversight hearing. The records were available on a publicly accessible site for several hours on Tuesday, February 9, and included information on approximately 12,000 students. The records did not include Social Security numbers or dates of birth. For more details, please see the parent letter posted below. As soon as the issue was identified, we immediately removed these two files. We have completed a review of all other files currently posted and confirmed that no other inadvertent data disclosures were present.

I want to personally apologize to our school communities, partners, and the DC community at large for this incident. It should never have happened. OSSE will redouble our efforts to secure data and prevent this kind of incident in the future. The leaders of our local education agencies have been notified. Below is the notification we have provided to them to begin outreach to parents directly, and which shares further detail on both the situation and OSSE’s way forward. Translations of this letter into Amharic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese are available below. We have also established a hotline and email address dedicated to addressing family and community questions and concerns on this issue. The hotline number is (202) 481-3400, and the email address is [email protected].

Again, my sincerest apologies for this situation. I remain committed to ensuring we protect our students’ data and information.

Sincerely,
Hanseul Kang
DC State Superintendent of Education