November 22, 2011

Personal Data Destroyed at HSLDA’s Request

The new superintendent of RSU2 (Monmouth, Richmond, Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell) recently sent letters to area homeschool families asking them to fill out a survey as to why they were homeschooling their children. Some families sent back responses that included personal information, such as their names and addresses.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff checked Maine’s freedom of information statutes. He concluded that all the information those homeschool families sent in response to the superintendent’s survey could be treated as public information. If so, anyone could obtain access to it upon request.

Maine’s homeschool law declares that information families submit as part of the homeschool process is confidential. But the surveys families mailed to the superintendent would not be protected. And the survey did not highlight the fact that all information the family submitted could be treated as public.

Woodruff contacted the superintendent urging him to destroy all surveys he received that contained personal information about families, so their information would not be subject to public release. The superintendent quickly responded and agreed to comply with Woodruff’s request. He subsequently confirmed that he had destroyed all surveys that contained personal information.