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California Student Information Released to Nonprofit

Information about millions of students will be released to the Concerned Parents Association



    Data on millions of California students will soon be released to the Concerned Parents Association. NBC 7's Consumer Bob explains why privacy rights advocates are concerned. (Published Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016)

    Millions of public school students will soon have their personal information and school records handed over to a nonprofit community organization.  

    The Concerned Parents Association fought for the data in federal district court and won over the objections of the California Department of Education.

    The nonprofit said it needs the information to see if California schools are violating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other related laws. The database it will have access to includes all information on children, kindergarten through high school, who are attending or have attended a California school at any time since Jan. 1, 2008. 

    The database contain students' names, social security numbers, home addresses, course information, behavior and discipline information, progress reports, mental health and medical information, along with suspensions, expulsions and more.

    That doesn't sit well with privacy groups. Beth Givens with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said it's "shocking that the court would release this sort of information."

    Eva Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center agreed.

    "A lot of that information could be used to commit identity theft if it gets into the wrong hands," she said.

    The attorney for the Concerned Parents Association, Rony Sagy, told NBC 7 the information will only be accessible to a handful of people and will have a "Special Master" who will certify that security measures are followed.

    "The issue isn't why they want it," said Velasquez. "The issue is that it creates vulnerabilities and access points."

    Students and parents can opt-out of the list by following detailed instructions from the district court. However there appears to be very little being done on the state or local level to inform parents of the disclosure.

    To find out more about the court case and how to opt-out, visit the ID Theft Center's website at this URL: The form, which you can find here, must be submitted by April 1.