Investigation Report F2003-IR-002: Summary
INVESTIGATION REPORT: F2003-IR-002
DATE: Submitted June 5, 2003; signed by the Commissioner June 10, 2003
PUBLIC BODY: Livingstone Range School Division No. 68
FOIP COMPLAINT: A school within the Livingstone Range School Division No. 68 (the School Division) issued a letter to staff, students and parents regarding the death of a student. The letter was drafted by the principal of the school with the help of a relative of the student. Not wishing to unnecessarily disturb the student's immediate family, the principal relied on the relative to advise the family of the letter and contact the school if they had concerns. In fact, the immediate family did not see the letter until after it was released. The family was upset by the level of detail and amount of personal information contained in the letter. A complaint was made to the Information and Privacy Commissioner who authorized an investigation into whether personal information was collected, used or disclosed in contravention of Part 2 of the FOIP Act.
ISSUES: The complainant submitted that the letter disclosed more personal information than was necessary. The School Division submitted that the student's personal information was collected and disclosed as part of the principal's responsibilities under the School Act for managing the school (section 20(e)) and providing the students with a safe and caring environment (section 45(8)).
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
- The investigating officer found the disclosure of the information about the student's death in the letter was authorized by section 40(1)(c) of the FOIP Act. The investigating officer agreed that the information was collected for the purpose of managing the school and providing a safe and caring environment for the students and was disclosed for the same purpose. The letter was to enable parents and staff to aid students in coping with the situation.
- The investigating officer found that the School Division contravened section 40(4) of the FOIP Act by disclosing more personal information to the students and parents than was necessary. Although the staff needed details of the situation to properly manage the school, merely notifying the parents of the death would have been sufficient in order to advise parents of resources available to help their children.
- The investigating officer commended the School Division for taking the initiative to send a second letter apologizing for the upsetting level of detail in the first letter and stating that the School Division had taken measures to avoid similar problems in the future.
No recommendations were made.
SECTOR: School Jurisdiction