Bill S7414A-2009

Requires schools and school groups to obtain consent before publishing personal information in a directory

Requires schools and school groups to obtain consent before publishing personal information in a directory.

Details

Actions

  • May 11, 2010: PRINT NUMBER 7414A
  • May 11, 2010: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO EDUCATION
  • Apr 8, 2010: REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S7414A

TITLE OF BILL :

An act to amend the education law, in relation to personal information in school directories

PURPOSE :

To keep a child's personal contact information private by restricting how and what information a school district, or school related association, can release to a third party vendor.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :

Section 1 adds a new section to education law, 3212-B, which states that a school district or school related association cannot release any students school directory, personal contact information, without first getting written consent from the students parents, or the student themselves if he/she is over the age of 18. This consent form shall be sent out once a year, each year, at the beginning of the school year. A student's school directory personal contact information is defined as a phone number, email address, or "any other information that may be used to contact the student directly". However, such information may be provided without written consent to school district personal within that students district, or individuals from another school district if said student switches districts due to a move or transfer. Lastly, such information may also be provided to a local, county, or state agency when necessary.

Section 1-2 states that a school district or school related association may disclose a student's school directory information to a third party vendor without getting written consent first, provided that:

As Section 1-2A states, that information does not include a student's contact information and...

As Section 1-2B states, that a school district or school related association first gives explicit written notice to the parents (or student if he/she is over the age of 18) stating that this information may be released and that the parents (or student) can opt out of having it released, if they so choose, by filling out a form and turning it over to the authorities at the school that the child attends. Information that can be released without the express written approval of parents (or the student) includes the name of the student, the grade level of the student, the age of the student, the date and place of birth of the student, any participation in officially recognized activities and sports programs that the student participates in, the height and weight of the student, the dates of school attendance of the student, any degrees or awards that the student received, and the most recent educational agency or institution that the student attended.

Section 2 states that, pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Military and Higher Education Institutions shall have access to a student's name, address, and phone number without having to first acquire a written, opt-in, provision from a student who is over the age of 18, or the students parents if he/she is under the age of 18. However, a student over the age of 18, or his/her parents if they are under 18, may fill out an opt-out provision that forbids the Military and Higher Education Institutions from acquiring this information.

Section 3 states that this bill will take effect immediately. JUSTIFICATION :

Currently, under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (F.E.R.P.A), a school district is allowed to release a student's personal contact information to a third party vendor that it does business with. Examples of the types of organizations that can acquire this information are companies that make class rings, companies that make sports equipment and trophies for teams, and military recruiters. However, once these companies have the child's information, there is nothing stopping them from turning around and selling this information to marketing firms or other companies, who then utilize direct mailers, emails, and possibly calls to try and tempt the children to buy their product. Besides the issue of invasion of privacy that a child faces when their information is released publicly, there is also the fear that this information could fall into the hands of dangerous individuals. To illustrate this point more clearly, from 2003-2007 (most recent statistics available), the homicide rate for high school aged students rose from 4.3 to 6.1 individuals per 100,000 (3). While it is true that not all of these murders had to do with information being released into the wrong hands, it does signify the importance of keeping children safe at all costs.

As of now, the only way for a parent (or student if they are over the age of 18) to block the release of their information is for them to express in written form their desire not to have this information released. This is what is meant when it is said that FERPA has an opt-out provision. However, there are no specific guidelines that indicate how this provision should be handled, and is instead left up to each individual school district. Hence, there is no continuity between districts, with potentially one passing out a form in the beginning of the year, another at the end of the year, and a third keeping the forms on hand at the school in case a parent asks for one. Additionally, as all parents of school aged children know, there is the distinct possibility that a form that is put into a child's backpack will never make it home and into the parents hands. Lastly, because schools do not have to alert parents when they are releasing the contact information of their child, parents may not know when it is appropriate to return the opt-out form.

Also, in 2008 (again, most recent statistics available) there were 10 million cases of identity theft in the United States (1). Of these 10 million people, 66% of victims' personal information is used to open a new credit account in their name (2). While these numbers do not specifically reflect children, what they do show is that identity theft is a problem in our society, and one that will continue to grow as more and more information becomes accessible to the general public.

All of the reasons written about above explain why this bill is necessary. By stating that a school district cannot release a student's personal contact information without receiving express written permission from the parents beforehand, saying that it is ok to do so, this bill is limiting what school districts can release without a families knowledge. However, by not outlawing the release of all student directory information, this bill does not overstep the states boundaries and overturn an existing federal law. Lastly, this bill does not interfere with the transferring of a student's information between school districts when a student moves of is transferred for other reasons. In the end, all it does is seek to strengthen an existing federal statute by outlawing the release of a student's personal contact information unless the family of that student explicitly states in writing that they permit the release of this information

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :

This is a new piece of legislation. FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7414--A IN SENATE April 8, 2010 ___________
Introduced by Sen. OPPENHEIMER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education -- commit- tee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recom- mitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to personal information in school directories THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 3212-b to read as follows: S 3212-B. STUDENT DIRECTORY INFORMATION. 1. A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR SCHOOL RELATED ASSOCIATION MAY NOT DISCLOSE TO A THIRD PARTY ANY STUDENT DIRECTORY PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION, RELATING TO A STUDENT PREVIOUSLY OR CURRENTLY ENROLLED AT A SCHOOL WITHIN SUCH DISTRICT WITHOUT FIRST OBTAINING THE EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF A STUDENT, WHO HAS REACHED EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, OR THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN OF A STUDENT UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN. EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT SHALL BE OBTAINED FROM THE APPROPRIATE PARTY ANNUALLY AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE SCHOOL YEAR AND EACH YEAR THEREAFTER FOR THE TERM OF THE STUDENT'S ENROLLMENT. STUDENT DIRECTORY PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION SHALL INCLUDE THE STUDENT'S ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, EMAIL ADDRESS, OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION THAT MAY BE USED TO CONTACT THE STUDENT DIRECTLY. SUCH INFORMATION MAY BE PROVIDED TO OFFICIALS OR PERSONNEL WITHIN A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR TO OFFI- CIALS IN ANOTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE CASE OF A MOVE OR TRANSFER OF SUCH STUDENT OR TO LOCAL, COUNTY, OR STATE AGENCIES WHEN NECESSARY. 2. A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR SCHOOL RELATED ASSOCIATION MAY DISCLOSE TO A THIRD PARTY ANY STUDENT DIRECTORY, NON-PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION RELATING TO A STUDENT PREVIOUSLY OR CURRENTLY ENROLLED AT A SCHOOL, PROVIDED THAT: A. THE INFORMATION DISCLOSED CAN NOT BE USED TO CONTACT THE STUDENT DIRECTLY; AND B. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OR SCHOOL RELATED ASSOCIATION FIRST GIVES A STUDENT, WHO HAS REACHED EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, OR THE PARENT OR GUARDI- AN OF A STUDENT UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN, EXPRESS WRITTEN NOTICE OF
THEIR INTENT TO DISCLOSE THIS INFORMATION AND OPPORTUNITY TO OPT-OUT OF HAVING THEIR STUDENT DIRECTORY, NON-PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION DISCLOSED. EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT SHALL BE OBTAINED FROM THE APPROPRI- ATE PARTY ANNUALLY AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE SCHOOL YEAR AND EACH YEAR THEREAFTER FOR THE TERM OF THE STUDENT'S ENROLLMENT. STUDENT DIRECTORY, NON-PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO THE STUDENT'S NAME, GRADE LEVEL, AGE, DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH, MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY, PARTICIPATION IN OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED ACTIVITIES AND SPORTS, WEIGHT AND HEIGHT OF MEMBERS OF ATHLETIC TEAMS, DATES OF ATTENDANCE, DEGREES AND AWARDS RECEIVED, AND THE MOST RECENT PREVIOUS EDUCATIONAL AGENCY OR INSTITUTION ATTENDED BY THE STUDENT. S 2. Notwithstanding any other provisions in this act the military as defined under section one of the military law and higher education institutions as defined under section two of the education law shall be provided a students name, address, and phone number without first having to acquire consent from the student themselves, if they are over eigh- teen, or the parent or guardian of a student under eighteen. Provided, however, a student themselves, if they are over eighteen, or the parent or guardian of a student under eighteen may request at the commencement of the school year that the student's name, address, and phone number not be released to the military or any higher education institutions. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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