According to the Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy, published by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Badass Teachers Association, since January 2016, more than 350 cybersecurity incidents have been publicly documented by U.S. K–12 schools. The report is packed full of reasons why student and teacher data are wanted by thieves, how the information could be used, what laws are protecting personal information, best practices protecting information, and what to do if you are concerned about the security in your program.
Afterschool and community education programs are not the same as K–12 schools, but some of the operation processes have been adopted from schools. More and more information is required to be collected to meet accountability measures imposed by state and federal government agencies. The information required is personal identification information such as full name, names of parents, date of birth, physical address, and student id number. So, how do you keep information safe? One resource is the Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy.
In the beginning of the Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy, it will provide some of the scarier stories and facts of keeping personal information safe. As you read on, information is provided on the laws that protect student and family data. The Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy also highlights some of the loopholes in the laws so you can safeguard your program and families.
In Section VI of the Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy, best practices to protect privacy are discussed. These are helpful tips that your program could implement immediately. These tips include knowing the rules and regulations at a federal, state, and local level to protect privacy; knowing the privacy policies of the software your program chooses to use; and best practices for passwords.
The Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy is a great place to get an overview of the information collected, the laws in place to protect privacy, and some best practices. There are other resources too, such as the Federal Trade’s Commission Protecting Personal Information Guide. Safety is always a top concern of afterschool programs and community education programs. Do your research, set data privacy policies, and keep personal identification information of each person involved in your program safe.