Oct 192010
 October 19, 2010  Posted by  Featured News, Youth & Schools

This is a story that will likely never make national headlines, but it is an instructive incident on student privacy and why parents cannot rely on schools to respect or teach the children about privacy. Elizabeth Doran reports from New York:

Two Fayetteville-Manlius parents called on the school board Monday night to notifiy parents whose daughters were asked to disclose personal health information about themselves to a seventh-grade music teacher this fall.

Christina Percoski, whose three daughters attend Eagle Hill Middle School, said she’s pleased administrators addressed her concerns when she brought them to their attention, and assured her the teacher would no longer ask those questions.

But she believes the district needs to go further. She’d like to see the girls in the class receive some type of apology and explanation that when something like this happens, they should feel comfortable refusing and going to a parent or counselor.

Also, she believes the district should send a letter to parents of students in that class telling them what was occurring. “I have no objection to educating kids about what happens to their voices during puberty,” Percoski said. “But coercing students to share personal health information with the teacher is completely wrong.”

Read more on Syracuse.com.

Apparently this has been going on for 15 years. Kudos to the parent who wants the school district to both inform parents and make this a teachable moment for students about their privacy rights and what to do if a teacher is being intrusive (however well intended). It is disappointing that the board has declined the parent’s request to send out a letter to all parents about the situation that could not only promote transparency, but could encourage parents how to deal with their children on privacy.

If I were a cynic, I might think that the school board declined to send out a letter so as to protect an employee’s reputation and is placing the employee’s needs about the students’. But then, I’d never be cynical like that.

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