PALMETTO BAY, Fla. (WSVN) – Hundreds of former students of a South Florida high school were alarmed to find that their private information was made public and have since filed a lawsuit.
“My heart stopped ’cause I couldn’t believe it. It was actually my whole life basically on the website,” said a former student who wished to remain anonymous.
The legal fight is just now brewing after former American Senior High School students discovered that a basic internet search revealed their names along with their test scores and social security numbers.
“We were able to find over 500 students’ names and social security numbers just by a quick search,” said Stephanie Langer, the former students’ attorney.
Langer filed suit against the Miami-Dade County Public School Board on behalf of two clients. They’re former students who said their private confidential information was made public by the district on its website.
They believe they, as well as the entire American Senior High School 10th grade class from the 2012-13 school year, are at risk.
The information was removed Tuesday afternoon, after the district learned of the suit. An “error” message appears in its place.
The students still fear they are at risk and demand that the district rework its safeguards. The former students are also seeking financial damages.
“Somebody might have saved it or screenshot it or anything just like we did — easy. So it still might be out there,” said the student.
“It is unsettling, and it’s hard to get rid of it, so once it is out there, someone could download the list, and they have to have it forever,” Langer said.
The school district released a statement that read in part, “Miami-Dade County Public Schools takes seriously any action that breaches student privacy and confidentiality. Every reasonable method is employed to protect student records. As soon as this incident was brought to our attention, the web page was immediately taken down. This was an isolated incident, and at this time, this post cannot be authenticated. Therefore, a forensic review is being conducted to determine its origin.”
A formal complaint has also been filed with the U.S. Department of Education.
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