I found yesterday’s blog post at ncpw.gov, Protecting Your Child’s Personal Information at School, and was reminded of a recent conversation with a friend who had asked, can someone really steal my child’s identity?
She had read our June post, Securing Your Child’s Identity: Advice That Every Parent Needs to Know, but despite the statistics, doubted someone could get a hold of her child’s social security number.
I let her know that we talk to people every day who have fallen victim to some kind of marketplace scam or who suspect they might have had their personal information stolen. No one believes it would happen to them.
And so I was happy to be able to provide some practical advice. Even if my friend is doubtful, she can play it safe by following a few simple steps:
- Find out who has access to your child’s personal information, and verify that the records are kept in a secure location.
- Pay attention to materials sent home asking for personal information. Before you reveal information about your child, find out how it will be used, whether it will be shared and with whom.
- Read the notice schools must distribute that explains your rights under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Ask your child’s school about its directory information policy. FERPA requires schools to notify parents and guardians about their school directory policy, and gives you the right to opt out of the release of directory information to third parties.
- Ask for a copy of your school’s policy on surveys. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) gives you the right to see such materials before they are distributed to students.
- Take action if your child’s school experiences a data breach. Contact the school to learn more. Talk with teachers, staff or administrators about the incident and their practices. Keep a written record of your conversations. Write a letter to the appropriate administrator, and to the school board, if necessary. The U.S. Department of Education takes complaints about these incidents. Contact the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office and keep a copy for your records.