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Student Privacy: School Leaders are Wardens of Confidential Data


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Ellen Yui, m: 301-332-4135,
Molly Devlin, m: 443-416-6675,


White paper advocates privacy policies that are transparent, open and clearly communicated

DULLES Va., November 3, 2015 — Schools must assume a leadership role in protecting student data privacy by developing privacy policies that are transparent, open and clearly communicated, according to a white paper released today by NetRef, a leader in Internet management in schools. To help parents, students and teachers understand the collection, retention and use of student data by EdTech companies and its long-term implications, the paper offers detailed policy guidelines and practical advice for best practices around Internet use.

“Student Data: A Double-Edged Sword” includes the following policy and procedure recommendations:

  1. Combine privacy and acceptable use policies.
  2. Embody your leadership role as custodians of student data.
  3. Assume responsibility for the actions of educators and IT vendors.
  4. Clearly communicate policies to students and families.
  5. Provide policies in multiple languages.
  6. Showcase Internet behavior best practices.
  7. Clearly detail consequences for inappropriate tech use.
  8. Openly share information on any corporate partners, all data use and any revenue-generating activity by vendors.
  9. Clearly disclose who owns student data and for how long.
  10. Avoid legalese and jargon.

“When it comes to protecting data, schools share the same challenges and responsibilities as a retailer, a financial institution, or a government agency. When school leaders assert their role as wardens of confidential student data, everyone involved benefits,” said co-author George Dotterer, CEO and co-founder of Verite Educational Systems Inc., drawing from his experience providing Subject Matter Expert (SME) services, tailored tech solutions and managed network infrastructure for government programs and corporations.

“Protecting students was our primary motivation in developing NetRef,” added Dotterer. “We have made a commitment to utilize student information provided by partner schools solely to administer and run the software and to never sell any personal information to third parties for their use without the express consent of schools.”

The third in a series of white papers exploring the impact of and challenges surrounding technology in schools, the paper was co-authored by Andrew Hedges, Verite’s program manager, and Harrison Parker, director of K-12 Education.

Dotterer and his team designed NetRef, the first-ever Internet management tool that safeguards all web access points across a school’s networks and on all imported devices, helping teachers maximize the web as an educational and collaborative learning tool. With seamless and simple integration, NetRef offers umbrella protection across all systems, hardware and devices—from 1:1 to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments, minimizing distractions and helping keep students on-task.

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  • CIPA
  • PPRA
  • CIPA