Parent upset by personal information in student directory

September 2, 2013 3:33:40 PM PDT
A Raleigh mother thinks her child's school is giving out too much person information by posting her address and phone number in a student directory.

"My concern is that the bullying, and pedophiles and thieves and everything else going on out there in this world, having my children's information out there is not what needs to happen," said Tina Waldrop.

Waldrop learned this year that is exactly what happens at her kids' school, Millbrook High School, and scores other schools around Wake County.  Student directories containing basic information put out by the PTA. At Millbrook High, the directories are sold for $3.

"I think of walking into this school, proving who I am and saying can I have this person's information and they'd go absolutely not," said Waldrop, "and go well, do you have it in print?  I'll take it in print, here's $3."

That may sound odd, but Waldrop has it right. That's how the system works. It's spelled out on page one of the Wake County Student Handbook.

The very first sentence says, "Directory information will be made public without permission unless a parent annually requests to the school that such information not be released."

There are 2,700 students at Millbrook High, which means there are 2,700 names, addresses, and phone numbers available unless families opt out.

"You get a little flier in the mail," said Waldrop. "I must have thrown it away the last three years because this is the first year I even knew about it."

"This knowing where I live, handing it out to anybody, I don't like that.  I really don't," said senior Jake Hollifield.

Waldrop's son, Jake, is a senior at Millbrook, and he's part of the school's student run news staff.  His plan is to make sure other kids are aware that their information is up for sale.

"Saying, I do know where you live now. I know where everybody else lives too," said Waldrop. "Saying, 'Isn't that a scary thought.'"  

Waldrop says the policy needs to change. Families should opt in, she says, not have to opt out.

"I just think it's an unnecessary policy that needs to stop," she said.

At least school board member Christine Kushner tells ABC11 that the policy will get another look. However, she said the directories, and the policy behind it, are meant to help with everything from carpools and homework, to invitations and thank you notes.

Kushner also said this was the first complaint about the directories that she has received.

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