Student Data Privacy
Oak Park Unified School District places the highest priority on keeping student information private and safe. We are fortunate to fall under the umbrella of recent legislation that mandates all companies doing business with California schools to observe strict guidelines concerning student data privacy.
Student Online Personal Information Protection Act
California Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) requires Google and other online vendors doing business with K-12 institutions to comply with Student Information Privacy safeguards. This legislation prohibits third party vendors from collecting, creating dossiers about, and selling such information about students when doing business with K-12 schools in the state of California. Furthermore, such on-line vendors may not advertise to students while using their on-line systems, nor provide information about those students to third parties. The Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) and consists of AB1548 and SB1177. These laws began to take effect January 1, 2015 with additional provisions taking effect January 1, 2016. Additional information about these laws can be found here:
What is Google Apps For Education (G Suite)?
Google Apps For Education, also known as G Suite, is a suite of free Google cloud-based services that allow teachers and students to collaborate on school projects in a secure environment that is completely separate from public Google offerings and is free from advertising and third-party data mining. Examples of Google services that Oak Park Unified School District has enabled via GAFE include Google Docs, Google Drive, limited Google Email, and Google Classroom. Some teachers will be distributing and collecting assignments through GAFE and the Google Classroom service. Students will be learning digital citizenship skills and cyber safety and information security/privacy through the use of GAFE and potentially Google Email in certain grades. To enable Google Apps for Education, the district will be creating district managed Google Apps For Education accounts for each student. GAFE and online account management are included in the revised Student Technology Acceptable Use Policy which will be distributed in the school registration package and referenced in the school handbooks being distributed in the next year. Parents are able to opt out of having their students enrolled and using GAFE (using a form obtained from the school office manager) but this may significantly impact their ability to participate in class learning activities, digital citizenship curriculum, online class discussions, and so forth. To help inform parents of the steps that the district and Google have taken to ensure the student's experiences using Google Apps For Education remains safe and that their data remains protected and private, we have prepared the following information about the district's deployment of GAFE and Google's own student data privacy policies.
Data privacy and information security are of great importance to Oak Park Unified School District and we share your concern that student data is handled appropriately and not shared with outside sources without our permission and that all student data remains under our control. We have designed our implementation of cloud-based data storage to be as similar as possible to the data access and security we currently have with district files and student files/data hosted on district servers. In addition to Google Apps for Education (GAFE), we will be making use of SysCloud services to ensure that we have an independent archive of all Google Apps For Education data (information stored in Google Drive and Google Email accounts) and the ability to search and monitor the contents of student data stores that is separate from Google and allows us to have a historical record of any data stored within Google accounts, just as we currently do with district hosted file servers that currently hold student files. We have also employed the services of AmplifiedIT, the leading K-12 Google Apps for Education consultancy to assist us in configuring our GAFE implementation to ensure that there is no leakage of data or gaps in misconfigurations of the Google Admin console that would lead to a potential security breach or loss of privacy or data.
Download the following document that describes in detail, Google's data handling policies when it comes to Google Apps For Education:
Because student data privacy is of such great importance and Google services has been provided free of charge to all school districts in the state, special care has been taken to ensure that Google is in full compliance of all student data privacy laws, and that no company, not even Google, is allowed to create a dossier of student information (which might be used by the company after the student graduates from being a student in a California public school), share any student with third parties, nor advertise to students while they provide online services for any schools or districts in the state. The state's California Educational Technology Professionals Association (representing the Directors of Technology for all school districts in the state) hired F3 (Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost) to conduct an audit of Google's policies and practices to validate whether or not Google was in compliance with State student privacy laws.
In short, F3 has found that Google to be in compliance with California student privacy laws.
CETPA and F3 have also undertaken a review of Apple's policies regarding Apple School Manager, the umbrella term which encompasses Apple's the breadth of offerings that Apple uses to provision and host student accounts for use with Apple education services accessed through Apple devices such as iPads, Macintosh computers, and iCloud remote data storage services.
Because of the demonstrated adherence to California and Federal student data privacy laws, Oak Park Unified School district believes that students using these services provided by Google are protected against the normal data harvesting practices that may apply to the free services that Google provides to the public. Google is not permitted to create a dossier based on student information and usage except to provide access to the GSuite services, may not share any student information with other third parties, may not advertise to students.
Additional Google Web Resources