The Park Hill School District sent out letters this week to 10,210 current and former district employees and students about a potential data security breach.
The district said Tuesday that they believe the breach occurred sometime between February and April.
School officials learned of the incident on April 1 after a resident alerted them that sensitive information was online. Most of that sensitive information involved Social Security numbers.
The district says it took more than three months to sift through the thousands of documents involved. School officials say they wanted to be able to tell each family specifically what information had been exposed.
"We are so sorry for the trouble and worry this could cause," Superintendent Scott Springston said. "We are doing everything we can to help people with their concerns and taking steps to keep this from happening again."
The district said a former employee, before leaving the district, conducted a download of files onto a hard drive.
However, when the hard drive was connected to a home network, all the files became accessible from the internet for a period of time.
District leaders said they worked quickly with the former employee, the FBI and Google to eliminate internet access to the documents.
After containing the incident, Park Hill officials conducted an internal investigation, worked with digital forensics experts and manually reviewed more than 13,000 documents on the former employee's hard drive to identify individuals whose sensitive information was contained there.
The district said they have no evidence of information theft or misuse, but they sent out the letters to all individuals who might have been affected as a precaution.
Parent Liz Jaques wants answers to put her mind at ease when it comes to her daughter's identity and sensitive information online.
"It was just like, what personal information did they take? Did they get any of her personal information? I mean they have her Social Security on record and everything like that, so it's just kind of unnerving," she said.
The letters informed them of the information about them in the documents and offered free identity monitoring services to help protect them from fraud.
"I think it is good they're at least trying to make up for it. I mean that is the least they can do, it is not necessarily the school district's fault," Jaques said.
The district said they are updating its policies to help prevent this from happening again and will require employees with access to sensitive information to undergo training.
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