Data Privacy FAQ

What constitutes student data?

Information that is tied to individual students is referred to as personally identifiable information, or PII, and is subject to additional restrictions in laws and regulations.

Student personal information includes any information about a student's identity, academics, medical conditions, or anything else that is collected, stored, and communicated by schools or technology vendors on behalf of schools that is particular to that individual student. This includes name, address, names of parents or guardians, date of birth, grades, attendance, disciplinary records, eligibility for lunch programs, special needs, and other information necessary for basic administration and instruction. It also includes the data created or generated by the student or teacher in the use of technology - email accounts, online bulletin boards, work performed with an educational program or app, anything that is by or about the individual student in the educational setting. Some student personal information such as social security number, is highly sensitive and collection may be barred by state law.

What is an education record?

The federal law, FERPA protects educational records that contain information directly related to an individual student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. However, new state student privacy laws protect all "student personal information" and data that is now collected and used via modern educational technology products and services.

What if I want to use an education app or tool and I don't know if my school/district has vetted it?

Please contact the QCSD Technology Department to ensure it has been vetted and has met the district standards for data privacy.

What if my students and/or I want to use or recommend a technology tool that was not specifically designed for education?

There are many tools that may not be designed for education, but may still offer a great educational experience for students. Please contact the QCSD Technology Department for a District review of the application/tool

What are the federal and state laws that we need to follow?

FERPA - Information in a student's education record is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law enacted in 1974 that guarantees that parents have access to their child's education record and restricts who can access and use student information.

COPPA - The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) controls what information is collected from young children by companies operating websites, games, and mobile applications directed toward children under 13.

PPRA - The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) outlines restrictions for the process when students might be asked for information as part of federally funded surveys or evaluations.

What resources are available to teachers to further understand and teach student privacy?

  • ConnectSafely Educator's Guide to Social Media explains how educators can use social media in the classroom without risking their professional reputation.
  • FERPA|SHERPA provides service providers, parents, school officials, and policymakers with easy access to materials and resources to help guide responsible uses of student's data.
  • Student Privacy Pledge is a list of twelve commitments K-12 school service provides agree to in order to safeguard students data privacy regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information.
  • ConnectSafely, FPF, PTA Parent's Guide to Student Data Privacy assists parents in understanding the laws that protect student data and helps parents understand their student's rights under the law.
  • Department of Education PTAC is a resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems and other uses of student data.
  • CoSN Privacy Toolkit for School Leaders provides school officials with 10 essential skills areas, outlining the responsibilities and knowledge needed to be an educational technology leader.
  • Data Quality Campaign provides information on state laws annually, as well as other useful privacy review tools and resources.
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