Grade School Data Privacy Voted Down

Feb 14, 2017

Credit Tennessee Watson

Wyoming schools use digital tools and software to support teaching and school operations, but a bill to protect digital student data was defeated on a tie vote.

The data includes everything from student name and home address to test results and cafeteria food purchases for children in preschool through 12th grade. The protections in the bill were meant to prevent the sale or sharing of this information, and to block the possibility of its usage for targeted advertising.

Crook County Representative Tyler Lindholm said the bill was based on a request from the education community for clarity around student data privacy. He added the Joint Education Committee worked on the bill over two interims, and drew from pre-existing legislation in other states.

But opponents were concerned the bill was too convoluted in its approach. Campbell County Representative Eric Barlow suggested contracts negotiated between schools and service providers could better protect against the use of student data for targeted advertising.

“You deal with it in the contract. You don’t allow it. I don’t know that we need a set of rules, or law. This is getting pretty contorted in my view.”

The bill received a tied 30 - 30 vote, which means it is indefinitely postponed.