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California Judge Orders Release of Public School Students’ Social Security Numbers and Other Personal Data

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By Brian Hews

In a stunning court ruling, a California judge has ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by two California nonprofit companies to release data, including Social Security numbers, mental health records, home addresses, report cards, and disciplinary records of all public school students in California.

The ruling applies to every student who attended public school in California since 2008, and must be made available to a “court-appointed” data analyst so it can be analyzed for the two non-profits.

The number of students’ data release could top 10 million, with some students now 25 years old and possibly living out of state.

The California Concerned Parents Association and the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association filed a lawsuit five years ago alleging that the California Department of Education was not providing adequate education to children with disabilities.

The CDE is denying all charges alleged in the filing and has fought disclosure of any student information.

The groups tried to get out in front of the ruling saying on their Facebook page, “The information will be made available to perform a statistical analysis of how California treats disabled students.”

The outcry from parents and lawmakers compelled the two organizations to shut down their Facebook pages and are now referring parents to their website.

One parent commented, “You have no rights to my child’s personal info. I am an advocate (of children with disabilities) and this is still wrong of a certain group of parents to force all parents to now scrambled to whether or not they want their own child’s personal private information given out.”

California State PTA President Justine Fischer said in a statement, “It’s hard to fathom that a judge would allow such an overexposure of children’s information.”



The nonprofits backtracked after the outcry saying, “We are very concerned about the privacy of all students in the state. We would like parents to understand that we had offered to mediate a settlement with the CDE many times and have offered to receive the information with fake names, but they did not want to cooperate.”

In her ruling, Judge Kimberly Mueller in the eastern district court in Sacramento
sanctioned several protective measures “allowing only 10 people to see the data and that the data will be destroyed after analysis.”

Lawmakers are stepping up to ensure students’ data is protected.

Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) are introducing legislation designed to ensure that personal information is protected at the school district level.

Gatto told HMG-CN Sunday, “This court decision is extremely ill-advised, putting all of our children’s personal information at risk. Our bill will prevent this going forward, and we are also exploring legal options to overturn this very questionable legal opinion.”

Assemblywoman Gonzales commented, “The huge data dump we’ve been made aware of begs a bigger question: why schools collect so much personal student data in the first place. As a parent, I think it’s time we ensure schools aren’t collecting unnecessary data, like Social Security numbers, that puts our students’ privacy at risk.”

Assemblywoman Melendez told HMG-CN, “No group should be allowed unfettered access to student’s personal information without explicit consent from parents. Parents should absolutely be alarmed and outraged this is about to happen.”

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects student information, according to a letter that State Superintendent Tom Torlakson wrote to districts on Feb. 2.

But he also said courts can force agencies to provide the data.

Torlakson told school districts around the state to provide links for parents to file an “Objection to Disclosure” form with the federal court.

It is unclear whether submitting the form will guarantee removal from the data transfer.

Parents can object to having their child’s records released but not electronically or by phone. Rather, they must print out a form and send it by mail to Mueller’s office by April 1.



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11 Comments on "California Judge Orders Release of Public School Students’ Social Security Numbers and Other Personal Data"

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Parent in HG

ABC Calendar

Next meeting of protest, March, 1, 2016

File Clerk

Dear ABC Community,

A recent court order could result in a release, by the California Department of Education, of student records. This includes current students and former students going back to 2008.

Please read the following information from our District website. If you do wish to request an exemption, there is a link that will direct you to the CDE website.


Today Social Security, tomorrow DNA and fingerprints. This rate, all report cards will be downloaded on line, for the world to see. Too much info on the technical highways. Kids data must be private and not avail to schools and officials, to insure from hacking attacks.

Cerritos HS Grand Parent
Cerritos HS Grand Parent

Where is the poncho, Mr. Gavin Riley, he is always polishing the school unions and bragging about how dumb / poor the district is.

Where is that so called asian realtor, madam Grace Hu, she could take some time off from camping at court house foreclosure sales and get the word out, as she is trying to pimp herself with the GOP in 90703-90701 CCC election. Rest assure, her and Remax will clutter our mail boxes with over 100,000 garbage fliers when she runs for council.

Why didnt Jim Edwards, tell us about this during city council hearing and why didnt the Dr Mary Sieu have this run in: PRESS TELEGRAM-LOS CERRITOS COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS….Shame on the upper mgmt. Jim and Mark Pulido are always brown noising the ABC for superior-hood, this is nauseating, all property owners will take a hit for this junket MELLO ROOS TAX for life. Dear ABC Community, The ABC Unified School District Board of Education will hold a Special Study Session on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 5:00pm. The meeting will be held at the District Office located at 16700 Norwalk Blvd.,… Read more »
ABC Parent

Our students are forced to give up their privacy via school records and apple protects the privacy of terrorist?

Where is the common sense?

ABC Parent
Thank you for running such an important story! This is outrageous. As an ABC parent I have NOT been notified by the school or the district. Failure to notify students, parents, and former students is shameful on Dr. Sieu’s part as well as the entire Board and every administrator. The schools have our email addresses and phone numbers. We already receive too many annoying phone calls from the schools and district so, why has such an important notice been neglected? Failure to push electronic notice on this. SHAMEFUL! ABC – do not come crying for bond money, if you will… Read more »
Leal Mommy

Dr, Mary Sieu is processing the new proposed Mello Roos Tax on to all ABC USD property owners, then she cares about local children. BTW she is probably prepping herself for another photo shoot or worrying about her own homestead in Fullerton Hills, where all her asian cronies live from China. No wonder why Irvine- Los Alamitos-Palos Verdes school district, finished in the top 100 school in the state, as they have parents and staff, which understand USA and work for the students and hell with the unions and racism.

Leal Mommy
Dr Mary Sieu/ Ret. Dr. Smutts, ABC is no where on the charts and you have the dam gall to ask for 3rd Mello Roos Tax Bond…..You know where you both can rot and burn in h…….Most of these schools have not even one Mello Roos Bond Tax, and we already are paying for 2 bad Mello Roos Bond Taxes…………….. Here is the Niche 2016 Best Elementary Schools in California: Herbert Hoover Elementary School, Palo Alto Fairmeadow Elementary School, Palo Alto Lucille M. Nixon Elementary School, Palo Alto El Carmelo Elementary School, Palo Alto Ohlone Elementary School, Palo Alto Juana… Read more »

I surely hope this judgement will be appealed. I don’t think it will stand.


Many students do not have a social security ID number, plus I really question the security bank for these social security numbers, – so many banks can be breached, and the data can be sold off to anyone in the world, who can gain access to the Social Security numbers.

Strongly against this, and urge all parents to sign a waiver to stop their students from having their exploitation of their social security numbers.

Privacy is the #1 importance we owe our students from ciber thefts.