Students' Information Mistakenly Sold at Edcouch-Elsa ISD Auction
UPDATE (7/17): A school board meeting will be held next week regarding the computers that weren't wiped.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS confirms there will be an investigation to find out how this happened.
EDCOUCH – Private information from elementary and high school students were sold to the highest bidder.
In April, computers sold at an auction held by the Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District were supposed to be wiped clean.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS found out that did not happen.
The computers sold stored students’ names, addresses, birth dates, medical records and social security numbers.
Some of the computers were purchased by RDA Technologies, a local electronic recycling store.
Co-owner David Avila says his staff made the discovery; he says he wanted the district to notify the community of the mistake.
“The problem here is, it was not only me buying. There was other people buying; we only had like 80, 90, 100 computers,” said Avila.
Avila believes, at the time, there were around 400 computers available at the auction.
We informed the Attorney General’s Office of the computers in Avila’s possession; he has turned over all the computers he bought to them.
The information is now safe.
Watch the video above for the full report.
Edcouch-Elsa ISD sent us the following statement:
"In April of 2019, Edcouch-Elsa ISD conducted a public auction of surplus inventory held by the district. Among this inventory were computers that had been previously used in the classroom and in district offices. At the auction, six computers were purchased by Mr. David Avila, who shortly after made the district aware that these computers contained district information.
Upon being made aware of this matter, the district dispatched the Technology Director to meet with Mr. Avila in order to collect the computers and retrieve the information. Unfortunately, we regret to inform the community that despite our efforts to collect and retrieve the computers and the information, Mr. Avila has chosen not to cooperate and not hand over the computers.
At this time, the district is exploring all legal available options against Mr. Avila to obtain these computers and guarantee the information is retrieved and secured.
At Edcouch-Elsa ISD, we take the privacy of our students and staff with utmost seriousness and intend to do everything possible to protect that information. To guarantee this does not happen again, we are conducting an investigation into how this unfolded, and intend to hold individuals responsible. Additionally, the district has put in place new procedures regarding the auction of surplus property to ensure that all sensitive data is protected.
We hope that Mr. Avila and RDA Technologies can cooperate with the district in ensuring that the district have access to this data in order to retrieve and secure the information on these computers. Furthermore, we look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously and stand ready to pursue any legal pathway to protect Edcouch-Elsa ISD data privacy."