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Friday, August 28, 2015

School District Gives Children's Private Information to For-Profit Private Corporation

Schools Superintendent Rubio Unilaterally Hands Over Sensitive Information on 
District Children

Online Corporation to Manage Emery Student Info 
Including Medical Records

Parents Uninformed

The week before the beginning of the new school year, Emery Unified School District has initiated new policies that require parents to divulge their children's private and personal information, including medical records, to a third party private for profit web based corporate vendor for purposes of registration the Tattler has learned.  In addition, the Superintendent of the Schools, John Rubio, acting as his own agent, divulged children's personal information to 'Infosnap'  the private corporation in question, in a so called "pre-populating" of the registration information without parental approval or even notification it was revealed by a School Board member at Wednesday's School Board meeting.

Not Coercive?
Large banner at school's front door inform parents
they "must" register their children online.
Emery Superintendent says parents actually can
'opt out' and the use of the word 'must'
 in this case really means 'could' or 'may'.
Under questioning by School Board member Christian Patz, Superintendent Rubio said parents have a right to "opt out"  of the online Infosnap registration and register directly with the District however in a letter signed by Mr Rubio and sent by mail to parents last week, he failed to mention that and instead he indicated parent's failure to surrender their children's private information to Infosnap Corporation would mean they (the parents) would not receive the school year schedule, a critical document parents of school bound children need.  Additionally, Superintendent Rubio ordered large banners printed by Infosnap be posted at school entrances informing parents they "must" register their children with Infosnap.

By way of legitimizing the new program, Mr Rubio announced to the Board Wednesday night he was pleased "more than 300 parents" had registered their children with the new "eco friendly" online system.  Only three parents had opted out of the online registration he indicated.  Nowhere did the District inform parents of their capacity to opt out it should be noted and Mr Rubio admitted as much under questioning.

Superintendent Rubio did not indicate how much of the children's private and personal information he gave to Infosnap in the 'pre populating' informational dossier transfer but a District official told the Tattler definitively it did not include medical records.
In a brief pre-School Board interview Wednesday, Mr Rubio noted that school districts sometimes trade student's private information with other governmental entities and he indicated he doesn't see a meaningful distinction between that and the giving away of that information to private for-profit corporate entities.

In a follow up email, Superintendent Rubio defended his action with the following entry dated today:

"The district uses different secure locations to store student information, including backing up data at the County Office of Education and temporarily with the school district online registration management company, Infosnap.  Using Infosnap is very similar to using Google Forms (or other online survey tools) to collect data.  Infosnap does not share any of its’ information and follows all California and federal privacy laws regarding student information.  As an added level of privacy protection, EUSD has elected to have all data at Infosnap erased after the district has completed its yearly collection of critical emergency and family information."  -John Rubio

Superintendent John Rubio
Here at Emery, parents understand when I say they must
do something, I don't really mean that.
The School District is paying Infosnap almost $15,000 for the registration service the Tattler learned, bringing the action just under the $15,000 cut-off point the Board allows the Superintendent to spend by executive fiat for an individual expense item.

Infosnap's online registration requests parents provide information such as their children's name, age, grade, address, contact info including alternate contacts, parental custody, medical records and parental income information.
A privately held Texas based corporation with '50-200' employees, Infosnap manages over 300 school districts across America including Alameda Unified School District and at least two others in the Bay Area in addition to their newest account at Emery Unified.


  1. Again, thanks to the Tattler for uncovering this. We parents thank you for all the work you do exposing nasty doings at the school district. We do thank you but it's not like it's a lot of seems everything this district does is no good. You're just turning over rocks.

    1. So as a parent how can you OPT OUT

    2. To opt out (opting in should be the default rather than the reverse), parents tell the office staff they wish to register their child in the tradition manner. You will be given the standard forms at the front office. If you request, the District is supposed to tell Infosnap to delete your child's file in case you gave already registered online.
      But warning; as the story says, the Superintendent has already given Infosnap some of your child's private information and that cannot be retracted unless he is forced to do so, presumably by a School Board vote.
      Welcome to Emery Unified.

  2. I like the online registration. Easy and convenient.

    1. If you are objectively made aware of the pros and cons of the District's contract with Infosnap Corporation and you like it, then you are free to use the District's online registration and all is good.

      Questions to you: Do feel that the District did a good job letting parents less sanguine than you know they can opt out? Was there adequate transparency and public debate from the District about this for those parents not as satisfied as you?

  3. Welcome to the 21st century Mr renaissance.

  4. 21st Century: No reasonable expectation of privacy and total acceptance of claims of wholesomeness and piety from corporations. What could possibly go wrong?