Parents seek options to stop release of student information

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Parents are flooding the Green Bay School District with calls today, after learning their personal information is being released. 

The district notified families yesterday, that School Choice Wisconsin, filed an open records request looking for student data. 

They are required by law to provide them with names, addresses and phone numbers of students. 

Parents have the option to limit what information is released about their students, with some conditions.

“I do not want to see my child’s name and address going somewhere it does not need to go. It should be private” says Rochelle Spencer. 

Parents are reaching out to the Green Bay School District, trying to stop the release of personal information. 

“I would be worried as a parent. I am worried always about predators. I have daughters” says another parent, Tina Baalman. 

But, if families did not already have the proper paperwork on file, the district must legally include their student’s information when responding to the open records request from School Choice Wisconsin. 

“Going forward they can certainly opt out of directory data release” explains Melissa Thiel-Collar, Legal Counsel for the Green Bay School District. 

However, when families opt out, they stop a lot more than the release of names, addresses and phone numbers. 

“Your kids will not be in the yearbook, their names could not be listed in a playbill. If they are on the honor roll and that information gets published in the newspaper their names will not be included in that” Thiel-Collar explains. 

While this request from a third party is unusual, schools are already required by law to provide similar data to military recruiters and colleges. 

Parents can also opt out of those lists. 

“I vaguely recall seeing that as an option” says Spencer. 

Not all parents are upset. Some we spoke with say you can find the same information with a few clicks on the internet. 

“I do not see anything wrong with that little bit going out” says Mel Arney. 

The district plans to examine its own policy, to see if there is a way for parents to protect their privacy, while still participating in school publications like the yearbook. 

“This is an unusual request and I do not think that parents ever contemplated that by not opting their children out of directory data that their names would be released to a third party” Thiel-Collar says. 

The district says there are measures in place to prevent the release of information if it would put a person in harms way. 

In this case they will comply but, sent the letters home to families to make them aware of who would be receiving the data. 

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