Lake Forest Schools' Massive Violation of Student Privacy Exposes and Endangers Our Children

Lake Forest Schools' Massive Violation of Student Privacy Exposes and Endangers Our Children
It all began last Friday, May 19th, when an email was sent to over two hundred and thirty parents of students with 504 Plans (medical and special education plans), essentially naming all the children in District 67 receiving 504 plan accommodations.

This information was sent in the open. Parents were not emailed individually or via a blind carbon copy.

In essence, the District exposed every child receiving Special Education accommodations.

The seriousness of this breach of privacy cannot be overstated!

This constitutes a severe breach of student confidentiality and is a textbook violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Federal Act prohibiting such conduct by school districts.
When this happened, Parents Care immediately began advising the District and Special Education Director Jenny Sterpin of this grave error and calling for immediate resolution and candor with ALL parents over this family and student trust violation. 

We have consistently called for this matter to be directly addressed by Superintendent Matt Montgomery, District CEO Jennifer Hermes, and the President of the 67 School Board, Megan Geraghty Helms.   

They have yet to do so and instead obscured the issue with misleading communications vaguely alluding to "confusion."

This is misleading at best and, at worst, downright dishonest.

This was not a matter of confusion!

This correspondence named over two hundred families of children 
We have heard from dozens of parents and directly understand the pain and difficulty this has put our community through.

The frivolous and flippant nature of the District's response is beneath this community and insulting to parents. 

Once again, we call on the Superintendent (Montgomery), COO (Hermes), and Board President (Geraghty Helms) to do the following:

1. Correspond with the 67 and 115 communities and acknowledge the compromising position they have put over two hundred families into.

2. Acknowledge the insensitive and insufficient nature of the response thus far.

3. Stop ignoring these kids in such a flippant manner and address the embarrassment and fear facing hundreds of children who have been put into a very difficult position.  

4. Stop "sweeping this issue under the rug" and explain to the community EXACTLY how this happened.

5. Explain how the legal FERPA violation will be addressed and what is being done to ensure this NEVER happens again.

Given the well-paid (and well-staffed) Communications Department serving Districts 67 and 115, how does the administration excuse these multiple violations?

We have heard from far too many Parents Care members who have complained about these types of privacy violations being a PATTERN in Districts 67 and 115.
Now, compare the lackluster response and "we can't be bothered" approach to the above issue with the speed and emphasis on prioritizing the answer to the community questioning the recent tidal wave of administrative raises.

Superintendent Montgomery wasted no time in his email "setting the record straight," which justified his massive raise and the new contract. Still, he cannot bother with personally addressing this massive privacy violation.

Also, compare the "all hands on deck" approach when publicly campaigning for the recent bond referendum with the "we can't be bothered" approach to addressing student privacy.

We saw all stops pulled out to ensure the administration got their money regarding the bond referendum.

A few months back, the Superintendent chided the community for an influx of FOIA requests. Yet when considering the students, Dr. Montgomery can't take the time to acknowledge the hurt the District caused our children.

Why are our children such a low priority to this administration?

Why has the District once again put its interests above that of children?

This is why Parents Care exists, and our pledge to the community is always to put our kids first and fight for what is best for them!