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Is Children's Personal Data Safe with Schools?

By CIOReview | Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Parents have the right to ask schools why they are collecting particular data because only when parents get involved in protecting their children’s information, the data becomes safer.

FREMONT, CA: Significant data breaches by known internet giants like Facebook and Yahoo have come into light in the past couple of years, which has left users with a question of how safe is their personal information. The answer to this question is not pleasing, but consumers can always go out of their way to change the passwords, protect records, and adjust their computer settings.

Information like passwords and medical records have maximum sale value on the dark web, where their price reaches thousands of dollars. Many hackers today are ready to sell information for even one dollar per person, and upon doing so, they can make a considerable profit. Consequently, the real question should aim at how safe is children’s data because schools collect an extensive amount of data on students and their families.

Below are some ways that schools collect data from students:

Enrollment Data

Data collection of students begins immediately upon enrollment of the children in the school. Information like state-issued ID number, race, date of birth, ethnicity, history of immunizations, and socio-economic status to know if the child is qualified for free or reduced-price lunch is collected. The school also has the contact information, address, and a copy of one of the utility bills. It becomes vital for organizations to protect all the data from people like thieves and hackers who should not see it.

Activity and Assessment Information

The school faculty also collects and reports behavior infraction, pupil’s involvement in clubs, and their performance on subject assessments along with the grades they earn. Additionally, the school nurse will monitor health conditions using a visual assessment, and the information is reported to several agencies. Laws like FERPA and HIPAA are made to preserve the data on the health, achievement, and demographics of the students.

Informal Data Collection

Not all schools and educators are careful about the student data collected. Many times, children are asked to take a health survey, which may have a series of personal questions, so it should be made compulsory for schools to seek permission from parents before holding such drives. Parents also have the right to ask schools about what happens to the data afterward.

The data collected informally poses not only a threat to the child’s safety but also impacts their privacy. Besides, questions related to blood type and other details also lead to invasion of privacy. The assumption is that it must be connected to coursework, but that is not always the case, and so educators are required to keep the personal data of students confidential.