FERPA Disclosure Investigation Concluded

By Dr. Michelle C. Reid
Superintendent's Messages
December 21, 2023

Dear FCPS Parent or Caregiver, 

I am following up with you regarding some important updates related to the inadvertent Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) disclosure to a parent.  I also share this correspondence to provide increased clarity regarding the situation.

As described below, the Division has taken steps to prevent further disclosure of the information involved in this matter and corrective actions to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.

The parent and their attorney have provided declarations under oath and penalty of perjury stating they have deleted and do not have any of the identifiable student information that was involved in this incident.   

As we have shared, this incident occurred during an in-person review of documents related to the parent’s own child. At that time, information relating to other current FCPS students was inadvertently and unknowingly made accessible to the parent.  Most of the information inadvertently disclosed was contained in spreadsheets that listed a student’s name with few, if any, other details. However, in full transparency and out of an abundance of caution, we officially notified all families of students involved in this inadvertent disclosure. 

We deeply regret that this incident occurred.  

The external independent investigation has concluded

As we shared with our community last month, I retained privacy law specialists at the law firm Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC (“Woods Rogers”), to conduct an independent external investigation into this incident and to make recommendations as to any subsequent measures that FCPS could take to protect against an incident like this occurring in the future.  Woods Rogers has now concluded its investigation and delivered those findings to me.  A summary of those findings, and their recommendations, are available at this link.

Immediately after the incident we identified systemic changes that will prevent inadvertent FERPA disclosures such as this one going forward.  We are implementing all recommendations advised by the independent investigation to further strengthen FCPS’ privacy protections. We continue to look for ways to improve our privacy programs and welcome you sharing your suggestions with us on this topic.

If you received a letter from FCPS stating that your child may have been impacted by the inadvertent disclosure and have any questions, please email [email protected].  A staff member will be back in touch with you as soon as possible.   

We remain committed to safeguarding personal information and will continue to evaluate additional actions to strengthen privacy protections for our students and the data with which we are entrusted.  

Warmest regards,

Michelle C. Reid

Dr. Michelle C. Reid
Superintendent of Schools