North Johnston High Sends Out Schedules Labeled With Students' SSNs
Posted June 10, 2005 7:53 a.m. EDT
JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — The Johnston County school system is taking responsibility for postcards some parents say violate their child's privacy.
At North Johnston High School, postcards were sent out to inform students about their class schedule for next year, but at the top is the student's Social Security number and in Bobby Coker's case, his child's information was sent to the wrong address.
"I'm worried to death that somebody is going to get those numbers and when she goes to apply for a college scholarship, her credit will be messed up and she can't do it," Coker said.
The school system said concerns about sending out students' personal information had actually already been discussed at the high school level. It is not known if those concerns were brought up before the cards were mailed out. Either way, school officials said change is on the way.
"The principal did apologize and say it will be different next year," said Crystal Roberts, spokeswoman for Johnston County schools.
Attorney General Roy Cooper said what happened at North Johnston High is a textbook example of what he is trying to change.
"The Social Security number is a crowbar for a criminal," he said. "I have real concerns about the free-wheeling use of social security numbers, not just government but businesses as well."
Cooper is pushing for a state law that would not allow Social Security numbers to be mailed out. Meanwhile, Johnston County schools are considering limiting the use of social security numbers.