School official blamed for release of sensitive information



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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Missoula high school official's error caused the recent release of more than 1,100 students' private academic, medical, disciplinary and criminal information, investigations into the release concluded.

Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Thane said Hellgate High School assistant principal Libby Oliver mistakenly sent the wrong documents in an email containing the private information to 28 parents, the Missoulian reported (http://bit.ly/1lOqBjd).

On Dec. 4, the day the email was sent, Oliver was finishing a document with the agenda and notes from a parent meeting the night before regarding the future of the school's football program. That information was intended to be attached to the email, but the confidential information that was also stored on Oliver's computer was "unintentionally merged" into the attachment, Thane said.

"This error was a failure to follow professional best practice in handling that data on a local device outside of the protected database," Thane said.

The firewall protecting the district's network and servers, including its student information system, was not compromised, Thane said.

The school district plans to review its policies, and add a new policy forbidding employees from keeping copies of sensitive student information on their work computers, he said.

Disciplinary action is expected to be taken against Oliver and possibly other employees, he said.

The parents of every student whose information was released will be notified.

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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The Associated Press

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