GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Greenville County Schools said Friday that thousands of the district’s students’ names and birthdates were included in a data breach.
The district said it was one of 13,000 school systems with an AimsWeb account from Pearson, a UK education software company, that was affected by a data breach.
The district said “some low risk data” pertaining to hundreds of thousands of students across the U.S. was exposed in the breach, including the names and dates of birth for 24,282 current and former Greenville County Schools students.
“These students attended kindergarten in the district from 2012-13 through 2016-17 and were born between 2004 and 2011,” GCS spokesperson Beth Brotherton said in a news release.
No grades, assessment information, personal addresses, social security numbers, credit-card data, or other financial information was included in the breach.
“The district is working to locate contact information on individual students whose data was breached,” Brotherton said. “In addition to blanket notification through the media, the district will notify affected families by letter via U.S. mail when possible. Those letters will be mailed early next week.”
GCS said Pearson is also providing complimentary credit monitoring via Experian. Call 1-866-883-3309 for information. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has a website with suggested actions following a loss of data at https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.
“Greenville County Schools has both employees and systems whose sole purpose is to protect our student data,” said Superintendent W. Burke Royster in the news release. “Doing so includes carefully screening and vetting the vendors with whom we enter into data sharing agreements. Unfortunately, in the modern world large data systems are constantly under attack from cyberthieves and sometimes those thieves find a way to break in. This is one reason we no longer collect student social security numbers for school registration.”
The school district said state law requires South Carolina districts to have a formal assessment and data monitoring system. AimsWeb was used for this purpose for a number of years, but was discontinued after the 2016-17 school year.
Parents can also sign up for free credit monitoring by following the instructions at this link.