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Teachers, Check What You Send in the E-mail Attachments

14/05/2020

Assigning homework or sending assessments by e-mail is the daily routine of schools during these times of  distance learning. With the large quantities of communication, it is easy to get lost and accidentally send something completely different in the attachment than you intended. A teacher at the Breiðholt High School in Iceland was confronted with this issue during the pre-coronavirus period when he accidentally sent the results of a questionnaire survey of other pupils to new pupils. For this, the school was fined almost 9,000 EUR.


The teacher thought that he had sent his students a document containing the dates of the individual consultations. However, the attached document concerned other students at the school. It contained confidential information about their well-being, financial status, educational outcomes, and social conditions. In particular, the new students of the school could read about the problems of other students, the interventions of the Icelandic social and legal protection body for children, or the mental illnesses of the students.

You can all imagine that something similar can happen in your organization. We encourage everyone, not just educators, to always check that they are sending an email to whoever they want, and to send exactly what they want in an email attachment. You can read more about the Icelandic decision here.