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Dalton School Apologies To Community For Breach Of Privacy

In response to the media reports yesterday, Dalton’s Head of School, Ellen Stein, sent the following email to the Dalton Community last night:

Dear Dalton Community,

Some of you may have seen recent reports about Dalton in the media. We would like to clarify the facts relative to these reports.

In November 2012, a committee of twelve alumni from one class met to plan their upcoming reunion and to discuss a class reunion gift. In an effort to be sensitive to alumni families and other applicants, as a matter of practice, we do not involve families in one-on-one philanthropic solicitations while they are in the application process. Following the meeting, minutes were sent to the committee that listed eight classmates’ names and their recent admissions history. Three other classmates were listed as being in the admissions process as of November 2012. We apologize for and deeply regret the release of this information.

We are reviewing our protocols to ensure that information about the admissions status of all Dalton families and applicants is protected and remains confidential. We have reached out to apologize personally to those eleven alumni whose names were listed. We greatly value our alumni families and their active engagement in our school community.

We apologize to our broader community and want to assure all of you that confidentiality and privacy remain fundamental values at Dalton. Rest assured that personal information about Dalton families, faculty, staff and alumni are treated with the utmost respect. Dalton’s strength depends upon the bond of trust among all members of our community.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Ellen Stein
Head of School

In an article in The New York Times today, one Dalton alumna who has been financially supportive said: “It’s horrible…..Why should anyone know how much I have given and whether my kid got in or didn’t get in or even applied?”

Another alumnus interviewed

said that what happened this year was essentially no different from typical private school practice, in which schools tell fund-raisers who should and should not be called in a certain year. But most of the time, schools are not so careless as to let private information go out in written form.
“I get the privacy piece,” the alumnus said. “But to advocate on behalf of the school, you have to have good information to do the job.”

Bottom line: Alum applicant families for some NYC private schools should be aware that those who fundraise for their school may verbally learn their application history/admissions status (accept, reject, waitlist).

In this Dalton situation, it appears that (1) someone/people “accidentally” wrote down the information and it was circulated (instead of standard/historical practice of remaining verbal); and (2) someone/people directly or indirectly leaked the situation to the New York Post

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