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D65 staff addresses cyber security concerns

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Officials at the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 headquarters have issued a statement intended to assure parents that personal information about students on the district’s computer systems is secure.

Concern arose after some parents took to social media to raise questions about the system, known as “SISK12.”

A posting on a neighborhood blog in the Willard Elementary School area sounded an alarm to parents that photos of students, along with such additional information as their address and school information, was being posted on internet sites that were “vulnerable to hackers and predators.”

In response, a district spokesperson told Evanston Now that a telephone conversation Tuesday morning with officials at Tyler Technologies, the system vendor, convinced them that parents had nothing to fear.

“Student data is securely stored in this system and is only accessible to the child’s parent or guardian and designated school and district staff via secure login,” according to the district official.

“District 65 is committed to maintaining the highest level of privacy and confidentiality regarding student data,” she insisted, adding that “District 65 and Tyler have an extensive agreement which covers data storage and security. All data is stored in accordance with industry best practices and includes thorough administrative, physical, and technical safety measures to prevent unauthorized access. The system is regularly assessed for risk and a response plan is in place in the unlikely event of a security breach.”

The system, she said, “is a valuable resource for not only our families but our educators, administrators, and support team. This system offers secure access to important student demographic information and maintains educational data to help track and monitor student progress. The student photos on file are considered a necessary safety measure and are especially critical for district staff and emergency response personnel in the event of a crisis situation.”

She said the district “will continue to work alongside all vendors and partners in taking the necessary precautions to safeguard the personal information entrusted to us by our families.”

Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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