Dumpster Data Breach Drives District to Dissect Disposal Details

As an elementary school was being closed down in Wisconsin, student records were pitched into a dumpster. The discovery led Oshkosh Area School District to activate its data breach protocol.

As reported by local media, district staff had been cleaning out the former school over several months, a process that included repurposing furniture and other goods for other schools in the area. Paperwork that included student records were shredded when necessary. But some documents containing personal details found their way into one garbage can, which were discovered by two community members.

"We immediately took steps to secure the dumpsters and the records," the school stated. "After examining the records and determining that they should not have been placed in the dumpster, we implemented our records breach protocol." The number was "small," according to the district.

An examination of the data showed that the paperwork was waylaid on its transfer to storage and "inadvertently thrown away."

Also discovered: "Four bags of hats, mittens and scarves, hand-knit by citizens," that were recollected and distributed to organizations around the city.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.