Public school assigns students to inventory parents' medicine cabinets

In Mapleton, Utah, a middle school teacher assigned students to take an inventory of their parents’ medicine cabinets, and fill out a form reporting back “medication names, what the medication is being used for and if it’s still being used.”  KSL radio reports:

What’s in your medicine cabinet? It's a pretty personal question, but that was the assignment students in one health class at Mapleton Junior High School brought home.

Concerns were raised when a copy of the assignment started circulating on social media websites. Nebo School District officials said not only was the assignment a violation of privacy, but also state HIPPA laws.

"This was an innocent mistake," said Lana Hiskey with Nebo School District. "It was part of a health unit. (The teacher) wanted parents to know how to clean their medicine cabinets."

Asking students to fill out inventory forms is “innocent”? Kyle Olsen of Eagnews provides a picture of the form the little spies were asked to turn in to Big Sister. That is a not a request to clean the medicine cabinet, it is a database on the most private aspects of parents’ lives. But Ms. Hiskey, a “communications specialist” pleads incompetence. Fox 13 Salt Lake City:

“Sometimes we’re blindsided, we don’t know if a teacher is giving something out that they shouldn’t be doing, ” Hiskey said. “And so we absolutely want parents to come forward, let us know…. I wouldn’t be comfortable having my own children go through my medicine cabinet.”

This abuse came to light only because one parent protested on Facebook. Olsen writes:

Parent Onika Nugent posted a picture of the form on Facebook and sent a letter to the teacher and the principal detailing her privacy concerns.

It is good the district realized this is wrong, but what kind of training, and what kind of organizational culture exists that such a thing could even be considered?

In Mapleton, Utah, a middle school teacher assigned students to take an inventory of their parents’ medicine cabinets, and fill out a form reporting back “medication names, what the medication is being used for and if it’s still being used.”  KSL radio reports:

What’s in your medicine cabinet? It's a pretty personal question, but that was the assignment students in one health class at Mapleton Junior High School brought home.

Concerns were raised when a copy of the assignment started circulating on social media websites. Nebo School District officials said not only was the assignment a violation of privacy, but also state HIPPA laws.

"This was an innocent mistake," said Lana Hiskey with Nebo School District. "It was part of a health unit. (The teacher) wanted parents to know how to clean their medicine cabinets."

Asking students to fill out inventory forms is “innocent”? Kyle Olsen of Eagnews provides a picture of the form the little spies were asked to turn in to Big Sister. That is a not a request to clean the medicine cabinet, it is a database on the most private aspects of parents’ lives. But Ms. Hiskey, a “communications specialist” pleads incompetence. Fox 13 Salt Lake City:

“Sometimes we’re blindsided, we don’t know if a teacher is giving something out that they shouldn’t be doing, ” Hiskey said. “And so we absolutely want parents to come forward, let us know…. I wouldn’t be comfortable having my own children go through my medicine cabinet.”

This abuse came to light only because one parent protested on Facebook. Olsen writes:

Parent Onika Nugent posted a picture of the form on Facebook and sent a letter to the teacher and the principal detailing her privacy concerns.

It is good the district realized this is wrong, but what kind of training, and what kind of organizational culture exists that such a thing could even be considered?