Administrators at Charleston's Ashley Hall school have apologized for an "inadvertent professional error" they say led the school to email dozens of students' sensitive medical records to parents.
A staff member at the all-girls' private school forwarded an email from a school nurse practitioner Friday asking parents to update their children's medication paperwork.
Attached to the email was a spreadsheet containing many students' medical details, including allergies, medical conditions, psychiatric diagnoses and medications.
Assistant Head of School Anne Weston wrote to parents in an email Saturday that Head of School Jill Muti would address the issue with students Monday morning.
"We intend to pull our Upper School girls together first thing on Monday morning, with Jill Muti and others, including a health care professional, to address them about how we care for one another at difficult times like these, how we remember our Hallmarks and treat one another with compassion and dignity, and how we have an opportunity to be strong in the face of adversity," Weston wrote.
Weston requested that parents delete the email and then send her an email acknowledging that it had been deleted.
"Again, we are so sorry to cause any of our Ashley Hall family distress and restate our commitment to serving well each child in our community," Weston wrote.
A school spokesperson declined to comment on what transpired Monday or any further actions taken.
Within hours after the initial email went out Friday, an anonymous parent filed a class-action lawsuit against the school claiming it had violated students' privacy and broken the federal laws protecting student and medical records. Gregg Meyers, who represents the plaintiff, said he has since spoken with the school's attorney, Dawes Cooke, about reaching a quick conclusion to the lawsuit.
"I will be proposing to Dawes some constructive solutions, so my hope is we can bring this case to a quick conclusion with improved data handling methods for the school that perhaps can be a model for other schools," Meyers said.
Cooke declined to comment on what actions the school was taking Monday.
"The school is dealing with the whole situation right now, and that’s the top priority, to contain whatever damages may have occurred and to begin healing the community," Cooke said. "I agree we’d like to deal with the litigation as soon as possible, but the school’s first priority is to take care of the students."