Student and Staff Privacy
This page describes how the District handles issues of student privacy and how we comply with certain regulations such as FERPA and COPPA.
FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
FERPA prohibits the school district, and those services that we contractually enter into agreements with, from disclosing personally identifiable information from students’ education records without the consent of a parent or eligible student, unless an exception to FERPA’s general consent rule applies, The general consent exceptions require a school to provide certain privacy protections for those education records that it does maintain, either onsite or offsite.
Google Apps for Education is fully compliant with FERPA, as are the numerous other services we contractually use, such as Infinite Campus, ThinkCentral and Journeys (online language arts curriculum), and Schoology (used by 9-12 students).
In the specific case of Google Apps for Education, this comes from our usage agreement:
The parties acknowledge that (a) Customer Data may include personally identifiable information from education records that are subject to FERPA (“FERPA Records”); and (b) to the extent that Customer Data includes FERPA Records, Google will be considered a “School Official” (as that term is used in FERPA and its implementing regulations) and will comply with FERPA.
There is absolutely no advertising, user tracking, or user data monitoring with Google Apps for Education. All data in Google Apps for Education is owned solely by the school district and it is totally unviewable by Google, even though they host the platform. Note that “standard” Google Apps in a personal account, or Google Apps for Business, does not comply with FERPA.
COPPA – Chlidren's Online Privacy Protection Act
COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. Only for-profit websites can violate COPPA. A school district cannot violate COPPA because we a not a for-profit website nor do we offer for-profit services. However, we are cognizant of the requirements of COPPA and how it affects the services we purchase and use.
By default, advertising and data tracking is turned off for Google Apps for Education users. No personal student information is collected for commercial purposes. If parents do not sign an opt out form, the school has permission to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school may only use student information for education purposes.
Certain applications within Google Apps for Education require a minimum age (Google Plus being one example). These are turned off for elementary students and for students in the sixth and seventh grade, and they cannot be accessed by them. The core services in Google Apps for Education (email, calendar, Drive) do not “knowingly collect” student information and do not make any use of the information that is entered (like content of documents or email).
COPPA allows public school districts to act as an “agent” in approving registrations and information sharing in certain cases as this, as long as the parent is given an opt-out.
To comply with federal law, the District employs several methods of Internet content filtering and monitoring. However, no Internet content filtering system can be fully effective in preventing access to harmful and inappropriate material. With global access to computers and people, there is a risk that students may access material that may not be considered to be of educational value in the context of the school setting. Students receive instruction, appropriate to their age, regarding strategies to avoid the inadvertent access of inappropriate material and what to do if they accidentally access such material.
For more information on content filtering, visit our Content Filtering page.