Wake schools posts residents' information online

Posted February 8, 2010 7:18 p.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2010 12:17 a.m. EST

— The year-round school calendar is a controversial topic in Wake County as the school board tries to manage growth while giving parents more options for their children's education.

Now, public comments regarding the matter are causing a stir.

The school system, last week, posted the names and contact information of more than 800 Wake County residents who answered a call from school leaders to give feedback on the issue.

The comments were part of a larger effort to gauge attitudes on year-round schools that includes a parent survey and several community meetings.

Beth Benjamin, who will enroll her 5-year-old daughter in kindergarten in the fall, was one of those who left feedback on the Wake County schools Web site.

"Any pedophile out there can go on the Web site – and see where I live and that I have a daughter who is a rising kindergartener – and come to my house or call me on the phone," she said.

Kathy Bundy, an elementary school teacher, said she was also surprised to find out her information was posted online.

"I feel vulnerable," she said. "That doesn't make me feel good. I protect that information."

Michael Evans, a Wake County schools spokesman, said the Web site did indicate that comments would be part of the public record.

"When we gave it to the board, we gave it to the board with the identifying information in there, so therefore, we thought it was necessary when we shared it with the public that we share the same format and not try to hide anything," Evans said.

The comments, as well as results from the parent survey – about 28 percent of parents responded – and five community meetings, which begin Tuesday, could affect decisions on school calendar assignments as early as the 2010-11 school year.