Monroe County State Attorney Catherine Vogel is seeking re-election to a second four-year term, so it’s natural she, like other candidates in other campaigns, wants to reach as many potential voters as possible. But one way she apparently went about it is obtaining the names and addresses of more than 500 of this year’s Keys high-school graduates.
Vogel says she merely wanted to send them all letters of congratulations on receiving their diplomas. We will take her word on that but logically, it doesn’t wash. She didn’t ask for the names and addresses for the previous three graduating classes, so why is this year any different? The answer would seem to be that it’s an election year.
Since Keynoter reporter Gwen Filosa broke the story, Vogel has said she threw the names and addresses in the trash and won’t be sending the letters. We assume the students will get over it.
After we published our first story about the student list being sent, schools Superintendent Mark Porter told Filosa: “Under our current policy, this information is available to the public but it does require us to redact” some information about certain students. “People can ask us for anything. The legal analysis takes place on our side.”
We note that the Key West Collegiate Academy, a charter school, also received Vogel’s request. It declined to send her its student information. The School District should have done the same thing.
The School Board met Tuesday in Tavernier and this issue was sure to come up. We welcome as much transparency as any taxing authority can offer we don’t agree with willy-nilly allowing student addresses to be obtained by merely anyone who wants them.
We hope the district administration finds out where the breakdown was — releasing the names and addresses was a judgment call, after all — and makes it a priority to ensure students’ private information is held more securely than apparently it is now.