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High school students' names and grades leaked online

9:47 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. -- Some students at Fairfax High Schools may feel a bit exposed this week after a PDF file containing their names and grades was posted on the community forum website, Fairfax Underground.

"Yesterday, we contacted the site administrator demanding they take down the information. No response yet, so we're hopeful they will comply voluntarily," said Fairfax County Public Schools Spokesman John Torre. He says they've determined the information came from a file for 9th, 10th and 11th grades last year. But Torre says the staff in the schools' I.T. department has found some grades from seniors last year posted as well.

Local high school students from nearby Paul The VI Catholic High School were appalled.

"You're messing with people's property in a way. It's their personal stuff. To kind of unearth that and who that to everyone, it's disrespectful. It's an invasion of privacy," said Nick Mattingly, a senior at Paul The VI.

"It's against morals to do that," said James Howanitz.
"I wouldn't't want my grades posted. It's personal information," said Richie Bozek.

"We don't need gossip, we don't need information dished on people that isn't anybody else's business," said Suzanne Thoen, a concerned resident.

Posting student's grades is more than just wrong; it may be illegal.

Torre says Under federal law (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA), schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. They've notified the Fairfax City Police Department.

Torre says if Fairfax Underground does not voluntarily take down the document that was posted, FCPS are prepared to take further action.  Torre adds that FCPS is working to find out how this leak occurred as quickly as possible.

The only security breach seems to be the student ID numbers which are used by the school system to track students and to bill them for school lunch. The numbers also allow students access to their assignment website, Blackboard; a password is needed as well to get on Blackboard.


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