New books, student files discarded at elem. school

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Philadelphia school officials want to know why perfectly good, and in some cases, un-opened books were found discarded outside Commodore John Barry Elementary School at 59th and Race in West Philadelphia.

The situation has already caused quite a reaction.

"Wow, so this is where our taxes go?" asked one parent.

Outraged parents and neighbors picked through the pile of books on the sidewalk behind Commodore Barry Elementary School; hundreds of books, many of them brand new, and some still wrapped in cellophane.

"This is money right here in the trash," she said. "This is money being thrown away."

And it wasn't just books. There were also boxes full of student records and report cards.

"It is right there in the box, names, phones numbers," said Michael Waters.

Many of the files were marked "confidential, some containing personal information, but they were all out on the sidewalk where anyone could pick them up and read them.

Neighbors and children started salvaging what they could.

Ci'nya Vincent said she's going use the books to study for third grade.

When the Action News camera showed up someone called the Streets Department to get rid of this stuff as quickly as possible.

A recycling truck broke off from its usual schedule and showed up with two supervisors. They wasted no time, as the children watched perfectly good books headed to the dump.

The School District says the materials should have been reused or given away to the children, and they are launching an investigation to find out how confidential records ended up on the street.

"We're going to look what exactly occurred and why this material was allowed to be put out on the street without first being shredded," said Fernando Gallard.

The District also says all schools and personnel will be getting reminders about the importance of protecting students' private information.

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philadelphia school district, school, philadelphia, local/state, david henry
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