Several teachers in schools throughout South Palm Beach County are using “Bloomz,” a Facebook-like app to communicate in a social network style with parents. This app is not approved by the Palm Beach County School District. Teachers are not authorized to use the app.
Potentially violating Florida public records laws, Bloomz presents a “back channel” communication tool that isn’t monitored by, and can’t be accessed by, administrators, principals, school district attorneys or members of the public filing freedom of information act requests.
At issue: teachers are storing confidential student information in the app which may be used by Bloomz for marketing purposes, potentially violating FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Calendars, photos, testing schedules, lists of students completing field trip permission slips, even photos and videos are being posted online by teachers with no guarantee of privacy or confidentiality.