01/11/2017 16:03 EST | Updated 01/12/2018 00:12 EST

B.C. school's private report cards were searchable online for months

Four years worth of student report cards from a B.C. school district were mistakenly made available online for almost four months in late 2016.

As many as 16,000 current and former students of EBUS Academy — a distance learning school based in Vanderhoof, near Prince George — were affected by the breach, according to an email sent to students by School District 91.

According to the email, a folder containing student report cards dating back to 2012 was publicly accessible by internet searches between early September and Dec. 11, 2016.

The school district says the report cards included personally identifying information of students such as:

  • Legal first and last name.
  • Personal education number (PEN).
  • Enrolment information.
  • Grades and teacher comments.
  • Confirmation of the existence of an individual education plan (IEP).

The school district says it has worked with Google and a third-party security firm to ensure the files are no longer publicly accessible and that no other privacy breaches occurred.

The district says the extent to which the report cards may have been accessed publicly is unknown.

In the email, the district recommends students consider taking steps to protect themselves against identity theft and provides a link to the website of the B.C. privacy commissioner for more information.