Miami-Dade County school board moves to block student ID theft

08/06/2014 5:04 PM

08/07/2014 7:21 AM

With identity theft on the rise, the Miami-Dade School Board on Wednesday moved to strengthen its protection of students’ personal information.

Board members unanimously agreed to direct the school district’s police and technology departments to craft ways to safeguard Social Security numbers and other sensitive student records. The proposal came from board member Raquel Regalado.

In July, a former food service worker at Horace Mann Middle School was sentenced to 81 months in prison for selling students’ personal information.

“We need to alert parents, teachers and even our own employees about this, and we’re hoping to come up with a comprehensive plan that also seeks to educate those main groups,” Regalado said.

In other business Wednesday:

• The board moved to terminate its contract with Florida International Academy Elementary School, a failing Opa-locka charter school.

The school has applied for a waiver from the state to remain open.

The district has little say in the matter — state regulations call for revocation of a school’s charter if it scores consecutive failing grades. Open four years, Florida International, which is not affiliated with the university of the same name, has earned all F’s and one D.

Parents Wednesday asked the board to help keep the school open. Courtney Odom, whose daughter has attended Florida International since kindergarten and is heading to the second grade, praised principal Sonia Mitchell.

“Regardless of what the stats show, Ms. Mitchell never turns down any students,” Odom said. “Assist us to push Tallahassee to keep FIE open.”

• Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho presented scholarships and laptop computers to homeless students entering college. The students were part of Project Up-Start, a district program that provides clothes, transportation and other support to homeless students.

Ten students received scholarships of $2,000, paid for in part by Carvalho’s National Superintendent of the Year prize money.

Project Up-Start served 3,300 homeless students last year, district officials said.

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