© 2013. Gagnier Margossian LLP. All rights reserved.
Student Privacy Rights:
Social Media, Device Access and
Use In & Out ...
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Student Privacy Rights: Social Media, Device Access and Use In & Out of the Classroom

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Our handout from the Association of California School Administrators Safe Schools Conference, August 1, 2013.

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Student Privacy Rights: Social Media, Device Access and Use In & Out of the Classroom

  1. 1. © 2013. Gagnier Margossian LLP. All rights reserved. Student Privacy Rights: Social Media, Device Access and Use In & Out of the Classroom Salient advice comes from a long-standing legal precedent upholding student’s First Amendment rights: “Students don’t shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates.” With the proliferation of devices, other technology and means to communicate, such as social networking services, how do schools balance students’ constitutional rights with schools’ needs to maintain order and a positive educational environment? Tips  for  Protec.ng  Student  Privacy There are some simple things that schools can do to protect the privacy of their students, including: ➡ Carefully evaluating the use of any service that utilizes “cloud storage” of student information; ➡ Providing options for parents to meaningfully opt-out of activities for their children that would include the sharing of their PII online (see the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment); and ➡ Ensuring that proper law enforcement channels are used as current law is still trying to catch up to the technology. Student  Privacy  Facts  &  Figures ➡ Over 8  million  student privacy records have been lost from nearly 600  security  breaches since 2005. ➡ 15%  of Americans have  never   checked their social networking privacy and security account settings. ➡ 38%  of Facebook users in the last year were under  the  age  of  13. Seven  Scenarios  That  Are  Commonly  Arising  for  Schools  Today 1) Students are being asked  for  their  login  creden.als  to  their  social  networking   accounts, such as Facebook, after posting something about a school employee or policy. 2) Schools are working with private sector third party vendors, using tracking   soHware  to  monitor  students. 3) Schools are implementing programs using RFID - Radio Frequency Identification technology. 4) Schools are forcing  students   to   hand   over  devices, such as feature phones or smartphones, to access  photos  or  informa.on. 5) Schools are using   webcams   or   other   means to take photos of students and otherwise track  their  ac.vi.es if they take school-issued devices off-campus. 6) At the federal and state level, policy initiatives have been proposed to open  up   data  sets  on  students  to  the  private  sector. 7) Schools are not   controlling   the   ac.vi.es   of   parents who come on campus, create  content,  such  as  photos,  and  then  post  them  online. What  is  Personally  Iden.fiable  Informa.on  (PII)? Personally identifiable information, known as PII, includes any information that can be linked back to an individual, such as: ✓ Name; ✓ Face; ✓ Fingerprints; ✓ Handwriting; ✓ Digital identity; ✓ Date of Birth; and ✓ Birthplace.
  2. 2. T: 415.766.4591 F: 909.972.1639 E: consult@gamallp.com gamallp.com @gamallp Los Angeles Internet Intellectual Property Privacy Social Media Technology The Good Stuff Sacramento San Francisco What  is  COPPA? The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA, requires websites and any company that provides a platform of any kind online or via mobile technology, to get parental consent before collecting or sharing information for children under the age of 13. As more unique and engaging education products emerge on the market, it is important to make sure that any websites or applications used in the classroom or recommended to parents are COPPA compliant. The FederalTrade Commission, who enforces this law, has a variety of resources for educators and parents alike on best practices and tools. The  Law:  Long-­‐Standing  Precedent  &  New  Cases  to  Be  Aware  Of ➡ Tinker  v.  Des  Moines  (1969): Filed by the parents of high school students prevented by school officials from wearing black arm bands in protest of theVietnam War. The Court stated that the students had the right to express their opinions as long as it did not “materially or substantially” interfere with appropriate disciplinary requirements or the rights of others. ➡ New  Jersey  v.  TLO  (1985): School searches may be permissible when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction. ➡ Robbins  ex.  rel  Robbins  v.  Lower  Merion  School  District  (2010): Court prohibited Lower Merion School District from surveying students by remotely accessing the webcams included on their school- issued laptops. ➡ G.C.  v.  Owensboro  Public  Schools  (2013): A search is justified if there is reasonable suspicion that it will uncover further wrongdoing or injury to either the student or another person. Simply using a cell phone on campus does not trigger an automatic right for a school official to conduct a search if its contents. Contents searched on a cell phone must be related to the infraction at issue. ➡ N.N.  v.    Tunkhannock  Area  School  District  (2011): School principal was found to have acted inappropriately when he turned student’s cell phones over to police to report what he believed to be inappropriate photos stored in the phone’s memory. ➡ Mendoza  v.  Klein  Ind.  Sch.  Dist.  (2011):An associate principal’s search of a student’s phone was considered justifiable for the purposes of determining whether the student had used the phone while in school. However, the act of viewing individual texts stored on the phone may be considered unreasonable. What’s  On  the  Horizon ➡ The Social  Media  Privacy  Act, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, was enacted to protect students at universities and employees in California from the demand of their usernames and passwords on social networking services. ➡ There could be future amendments or other legislative efforts that would apply to K-12 schools, with exemptions for instances involving, for example, bullying investigations. #nerdlawyers It’s  Not  “You”  v.  the  “Students”:   Educa.on  on  Privacy  Online Content Make sure students are aware of the content they produce and the content that they consume. Conduct Not everyone is engaging in appropriate conduct online. Individuals are accountable for their actions. Inform students that actions online are public and permanently archived. Context Educate students on context. Know if you are communicating privately or publicly. Understand the privacy rules and settings for the platforms you are using. Contact Work with students to understand there are hackers and scammers online.

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