|Document with student SS numbers stolen from MGISD
Item recovered, but parents warned to watch for fraudulent activity
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Dec. 14, 2006 - A document containing personal data such as student's Social Security numbers was stolen from Miller Grove Independent School District's office files sometime before the Thanksgiving holidays.
The Public Education Information Management System document has since been recovered, and thus far there are no indications the information has been used fraudulently.
Nevertheless, school officials sent notes home following the Thanksgiving holiday alerting parents of the theft so they can take appropriate action to protect their child's information.
"We had no idea the report was stolen out of the PEIMS files," Superintendent Steve Johnson said Thursday morning. "This is one of the few things with Social Security numbers on it."
The Texas Education Agency's PEIMS division encompasses all data requested and received by TEA about public education, including student demographics and academic performance, and personnel, financial and organizational information.
After learning the document had been removed just prior to the Thanksgiving break, school officials contacted Hopkins County Sheriff's Office and the school district's attorneys. Once students returned to school, the letter was sent home to parents, suggesting they contact the Social Security office.
"Although we don't think anything improper has been done with the information at this point, we thought it best to notify parents as a precaution," Johnson said.
Johnson said school administrators have received only a few calls regarding the matter, and most of those to express appreciation for the notification and to report what Social Security officials had advised them to do.
"They said they were advised to monitor their credit reports," Johnson said. "If they find any unusual activity, contact the school and get an investigation going. They were also told that it's very difficult to use minors' identification."
The sheriff's office is still investigating the incident. The document that has been recovered is believed to be the original. Authorities also said they think the document was recovered before any illegal transactions could be made using the information, but are investigating the case as fraudulent use or possession of identifying information due to the sensitive nature of the information.
"I hope they find those responsible for this wrongdoing," Johnson said. "We will definitely file charges. This violates the school."
The document is also now secured in a locked room as a safeguard against future incidents.