Shelley High accidentally shared private student information

SHELLEY — Shelley High School mistakenly sent a mass email containing private student information to parents Tuesday — a slip that violates state law and could come with a sizeable fine.

Eighty-six Shelley High parents with students who have between three and five absences received the email, Shelley High School principal Eric Lords told Idaho Education News Thursday. Mistakenly attached to the message was personal information of 280 kids, including:

  • Names
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses
  • Class schedules
  • Attendance records

Violations of private student data carry a potential penalty of up to $50,000 under Idaho law, if either the State Board of Education or the State Department of Education initiate civil action against the school district. “Court action initiated by an injured party” could also spur a penalty, the law states.

Shelley School District Superintendent Bryan Jolley said he’s aware of the law, but isn’t worried about a penalty.

“Seems kind of counterproductive to [sue a school district],” Jolley said, adding that if there are legal ramifications, “that’s what attorneys and insurance are for.”

Lords thinks the mistake resulted from a glitch in the school’s student-tracking software, PowerSchool, because no history of the email exists in the program’s sent-mail queue.

“We’ve never had that happen before,” Lords said.

Regardless of the cause, Jolley said, “no one wants personal student information to get out.” Both he and Lords said the school has sent apology emails to affected parents and directed those who mistakenly received personal information to delete it.

Lords said the school will also more carefully review emails before hitting send.

Shelley High School is located in East Idaho, roughly 15 miles south of Idaho Falls.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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