PARENTS and their MSP have condemned the exposure of the sensitive personal details of more than 50 pupils to more than 200 others.

The National told yesterday how pupils left Brechin High in tears after lists of those with mental health problems, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexia and other issues were displayed to the entire S4-6 cohort at an assembly supposedly called over exam prelims.

Yesterday some of those affected stayed away from school as the headteacher held a series of meetings with the parents of distressed teenagers.

Some of those whose details were displayed had only just received medical diagnoses.

Others had chosen not to tell classmates about their conditions.

A data breach on this scale is quite frankly outrageous and should never have been allowed to occur

But now the entire fourth, fifth and sixth years have been told – by teachers – which of their schoolmates has depression, anxiety and other issues that can impede their learning.

The breach has been reported to the UK Information Commissioner and may breach professional guidelines for teachers and others who work closely with children.

Angus Council says “additional specialist support” will be provided to affected young people, as required.

But one parent says the disclosure has had a “devastating” impact on their child and has raised bullying and harassment fears.

And local MSP Mairi Gougeon is demanding answers.

The National: Mairi GougeonMairi Gougeon

Gougeon, who represents Angus North and Mearns, said: “This is a shocking situation that should never have occurred in what is a breach of the most private and confidential information that no person would want shared.

“As soon as I was made aware of the situation I contacted the chief executive of Angus Council, Margo Williamson, to ask as a matter of urgency what action was being taken to investigate the incident, as well as what engagement will be taking place with both the affected young people and their parents.

“A data breach on this scale is quite frankly outrageous and should never have been allowed to occur.

“However, this isn’t just about the data breach in itself, but the impact on those young people whose names were singled out and broadcast to their peers.

“I have been approached by parents of some of the young people at the centre of this and will be doing all I can to ensure that those pupils are given the appropriate support that they need, and that steps are taken to ensure this does not happen again.”

According to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), teachers “must treat sensitive, personal information about pupils with respect and confidentiality and not disclose it unless required to do so” by employers or by law.

We’re devastated that this has happened, not just for our family but for others

GTCS did not state whether or not any Brechin High teacher has been referred to the professional body over the incident.

But a spokesperson said: “We expect any fitness to teach concern that relates to the school or employment context to be raised with the school or employer in the first instance.

“We know that most concerns can be more quickly and satisfactorily resolved at this local level and there is no need for them to come to us.

“When a concern is of a more serious nature, we know that the school or employer will appropriately investigate the matter and ultimately make a referral to us where this is appropriate.”

READ MORE: School announces names of students with disabilities at assembly

Disclosure Scotland, which manages the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership scheme governing those who work closely with minors and protected adults, said it cannot comment on individual cases.

However, PVG status – required for teaching work – can be revoked if a holder is found to have put young people at risk of either physical or psychological harm. The rules cover “reckless behaviour or incompetence that may cause someone to be harmed”, even if that harm was unintentional.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said: “All organisations processing personal data should do so safely and securely. If anyone has concerns about how their data has been handled, they can report these concerns to us.”

Yesterday Angus Council said the head teacher “continues to meet and speak with both parents and young people” and training on data protection will be “re-visited”.

A local authority source said a “very small number” of pupils had “not felt able to attend” classes yesterday and would be given “additional support”.

But one parent told The National: “We’re devastated that this has happened, not just for our family but for others. For that information to come out is not just breaching confidentiality, it’s breaching that young person’s trust.

“In a school, where you should feel safe and secure, they are not getting to feel like that any more. Somebody has got to be held accountable. I won’t be happy if it’s brushed under the carpet. It’s like they hold our kids in contempt.”

The names were listed on a series of slides shown to the senior school.

A parent of one affected teenager slammed the staff involved, saying: “Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have seen the first slide and put a stop to it.

“My child said, ‘mum, I feel like we’ve gone back in time, getting segregated and made to feel humiliated in front of senior pupils’.

“There are so many in the school who noone knew about, but they know now.

“It’s not good enough. We all know about data protection.

“How can we trust them with our children’s information? Some of these kids won’t go back to school.

“They say they work on inclusion, but they’ve done the exact opposite.”