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Wednesday  •  February 10, 2021

More Background on the HCPSS “Student BMI Data Collection Program”

By Steven Keller


Tomorrow, the HCPSS Board of Education will consider whether or not to approve a “Student BMI Data Collection Program”, in collaboration with The Horizon Foundation. The high-level central office administrator who is listed as HCPSS’s “Primary Contact” for this program and who co-authored the proposed Data Sharing Agreement for the program, is the same person whose led the central office team that:


  1. Examined and used parents’ social media activity when evaluating whether or not to grant a redistricting exemption to a student with an IEP or 504 plan and referred to a student with with dyslexia and ADHD as a “pity 504” request


  2. Consulted the confidential information of a student’s 504 and/or IEP plan as they made determinations for redistricting exemptions, despite the fact that no legal authority existed for this invasive maneuver in HCPSS Policy 9000.


  3. Allegedly granted unauthorized access of an appellant’s son’s 504 plan to the BOE’s redistricting legal defense team, for the purpose of trying to help HCPSS “win” the redistricting legal battle


The above privacy breaches and irresponsible handling of private student data never would have been discovered if not for a lengthy, costly lawsuit and may be the tip of the iceberg. With this sort of track record, how can parents have confidence that their students’ health information will be safely and securely shared with any external organizations or even stored and safeguarded against unauthorized access or harmful usage within the confines of the HCPSS system?


The program may be well-intentioned but is it worth the risk? Should the program really be “opt-out” versus “opt-in”, or even permitted at all, considering this historical mishandling of private student data by HCPSS central office?


A summary of the policy & privacy breaches by HCPSS central office staff, supervisors & legal team that came out during the witness testimony can be found here.


The full repository of redistricting lawsuit court testimony clips that detail these examples of student and parent privacy breaches can be found here.


Video clips from the September 2019 Board Meeting when the proposed “Student BMI Data Collection Program” was originally discussed & voted on can be found here.


The proposed Data Sharing Agreement / Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will be voted on tomorrow can be found here.


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