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Westminster Community Charter - Policy on Privacy and Security for Student Data and Teacher and Principal Data in Accordance of Education Law § 2-d

PRIVACY AND SECURITY FOR STUDENT DATA AND TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL DATA

The District is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of student data and teacher and principal data and will follow all applicable laws and regulations for the handling and storage of this data in the District and when disclosing or releasing it to others, including, but not limited to, third-party contractors. The District adopts this policy to implement the requirements of Education Law Section 2-d and its implementing regulations, as well as to align the District's data privacy and security practices with the National Institute for Standards and Technology Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (Version 1.1).

Parents' Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security

 

Data Collection Transparency and Restrictions

As part of its commitment to maintaining the privacy and security of student data and teacher and principal data, the District will take steps to minimize its collection, processing, and transmission of PII.  Additionally, the District will:

a) Not sell PII nor use or disclose it for any marketing or commercial purpose or facilitate its use or disclosure by any other party for any marketing or commercial purpose or permit another party to do so.

b) Ensure that it has provisions in its contracts with third-party contractors or in separate data sharing and confidentiality agreements that require the confidentiality of shared student data or teacher or principal data be maintained in accordance with law, regulation, and District policy.

Except as required by law or in the case of educational enrollment data, the District will not report to NYSED the following student data elements:

a) Juvenile delinquency records;

b) Criminal records;

c) Medical and health records; and

d) Student biometric information.

Nothing in Education Law Section 2-d or this policy should be construed as limiting the administrative use of student data or teacher or principal data by a person acting exclusively in the person's capacity as an employee of the District.

Chief Privacy Officer

The Commissioner of Education has appointed a Chief Privacy Officer who will report to the Commissioner on matters affecting privacy and the security of student data and teacher and principal data. Among other functions, the Chief Privacy Officer is authorized to provide assistance to educational agencies within the state on minimum standards and best practices associated with privacy and the security of student data and teacher and principal data.

The District will comply with its obligation to report breaches or unauthorized releases of student data or teacher or principal data to the Chief Privacy Officer in accordance with Education Law Section 2-d, its implementing regulations, and this policy.

The Chief Privacy Officer has the power, among others, to:

a) Access all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, and other materials maintained by the District that relate to student data or teacher or principal data, which includes, but is not limited to, records related to any technology product or service that will be utilized to store and/or process PII; and

b) Based upon a review of these records, require the District to act to ensure that PII is protected in accordance with laws and regulations, including but not limited to requiring the District to perform a privacy impact and security risk assessment.

Data Protection Officer

The District has designated a District's Data Protection Officer. The Data Protection Officer for the District is the Business Operations Director for the Westminster Community Charter School District.

The Data Protection Officer is responsible for the implementation and oversight of this policy and any related procedures including those required by Education Law Section 2-d and its implementing regulations, as well as serving as the main point of contact for data privacy and security for the District.  The Data Protection Officer may perform these functions in addition to other job responsibilities.

Additionally, some aspects of the DPO’s role may be outsourced to a provider such as a BOCES, to the extent available.

District Data Privacy and Security Standards

The District will use the National Institute for Standards and Technology Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (Version 1.1) (Framework) as the standard for its data privacy and security program. The Framework is a risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity risk and is composed of three parts: the Framework Core, the Framework Implementation Tiers, and the Framework Profiles. The Framework provides a common taxonomy and mechanism for organizations to:

a) Describe their current cybersecurity posture;

b) Describe their target state for cybersecurity;

c) Identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement within the context of a continuous and repeatable process;

d) Assess progress toward the target state; and

e) Communicate among internal and external stakeholders about cybersecurity risk.

The District will protect the privacy of PII by:

a) Ensuring that every use and disclosure of PII by the District benefits students and the District by considering, among other criteria, whether the use and/or disclosure will:

1. Improve academic achievement;

2. Empower parents and students with information; and/or

3. Advance efficient and effective school operations.

b) Not including PII in public reports or other public documents.

The District affords all protections under FERPA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and their implementing regulations to parents or eligible students, where applicable.

Third-Party Contractors

District Responsibilities

The District will ensure that whenever it enters into a contract or other written agreement with a third-party contractor under which the third-party contractor will receive student data or teacher or principal data from the District, the contract or written agreement will include provisions requiring that confidentiality of shared student data or teacher or principal data be maintained in accordance with law, regulation, and District policy.

In addition, the District will ensure that the contract or written agreement includes the third-party contractor's data privacy and security plan that has been accepted by the District.

The third-party contractor's data privacy and security plan must, at a minimum:

a) Outline how the third-party contractor will implement all state, federal, and local data privacy and security contract requirements over the life of the contract, consistent with District policy;

b) Specify the administrative, operational, and technical safeguards and practices the third-party contractor has in place to protect PII that it will receive under the contract;

c) Demonstrate that the third-party contractor complies with the requirements of 8 NYCRR Section 121.3(;

d) Specify how officers or employees of the third-party contractor and its assignees who have access to student data or teacher or principal data receive or will receive training on the laws governing confidentiality of this data prior to receiving access;

e) Specify if the third-party contractor will utilize subcontractors and how it will manage those relationships and contracts to ensure PII is protected;

f) Specify how the third-party contractor will manage data privacy and security incidents that implicate PII including specifying any plans to identify breaches and unauthorized disclosures, and to promptly notify the District;

g) Describe whether, how, and when data will be returned to the District, transitioned to a successor contractor, at the District's option and direction, deleted or destroyed by the third-party contractor when the contract is terminated or expires; and

h) Include a signed copy of the Parents' Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security.

Third-Party Contractor Responsibilities

Each third-party contractor, that enters into a contract or other written agreement with the District under which the third-party contractor will receive student data or teacher or principal data from the District, is required to:

a) Adopt technologies, safeguards, and practices that align with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework;

b) Comply with District policy and Education Law Section 2-d and its implementing regulations;

c) Limit internal access to PII to only those employees or subcontractors that have legitimate educational interests (i.e., they need access to provide the contracted services);

d) Not use the PII for any purpose not explicitly authorized in its contract;

e) Not disclose any PII to any other party without the prior written consent of the parent or eligible student:

1. Except for authorized representatives of the third-party contractor such as a subcontractor or assignee to the extent they are carrying out the contract and in compliance with law, regulation, and its contract with the District; or

2. Unless required by law or court order and the third-party contractor provides a notice of the disclosure to NYSED, the Board, or the institution that provided the information no later than the time the information is disclosed, unless providing notice of the disclosure is expressly prohibited by law or court order;

f) Maintain reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of PII in its custody;

g) Use encryption to protect PII in its custody while in motion or at rest; and

h) Not sell PII nor use or disclose it for any marketing or commercial purpose or facilitate its use or disclosure by any other party for any marketing or commercial purpose or permit another party to do so.

Where a third-party contractor engages a subcontractor to perform its contractual obligations, the data protection obligations imposed on the third-party contractor by law and contract apply to the subcontractor.

Click-Wrap Agreements

Periodically, District staff may wish to use software, applications, or other technologies in which the user must "click" a button or box to agree to certain online terms of service prior to using the software, application, or other technology. These are known as "click-wrap agreements" and are considered legally binding "contracts or other written agreements" under Education Law Section 2-d and its implementing regulations.

District staff are prohibited from using software, applications, or other technologies pursuant to a click-wrap agreement in which the third-party contractor receives student data or teacher or principal data from the District unless they have received prior approval from the District's Data Privacy Officer or designee.

The District will develop and implement procedures requiring prior review and approval for staff use of any software, applications, or other technologies pursuant to click-wrap agreements.

The District will publish its Parents' Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security (Bill of Rights) on its website as follows:

 

Additionally, the District will include the Bill of Rights with every contract or other written agreement it enters into with a third-party contractor under which the third-party contractor will receive student data or teacher or principal data from the District.

In accordance with, and as part of, the Bill of Rights, each contract the District enters into with a third-party contractor where the third-party contractor receives student data or teacher or principal data from the District will include the following information:

a) The exclusive purposes for which the student data or teacher or principal data will be used by the third-party contractor, as defined in the contract;

b) How the third-party contractor will ensure that the subcontractors, or other authorized persons or entities to whom the third-party contractor will disclose the student data or teacher or principal data, if any, will abide by all applicable data protection and security requirements, including but not limited to those outlined in applicable laws and regulations (e.g., FERPA; Education Law Section 2-d);

c) The duration of the contract, including the contract's expiration date, and a description of what will happen to the student data or teacher or principal data upon expiration of the contract or other written agreement (e.g., whether, when, and in what format it will be returned to the District, and/or whether, when, and how the data will be destroyed);

d) If and how a parent, student, eligible student, teacher, or principal may challenge the accuracy of the student data or teacher or principal data that is collected;

e) Where the student data or teacher or principal data will be stored, described in a manner as to protect data security, and the security protections taken to ensure the data will be protected and data security and privacy risks mitigated; and

f) Address how the data will be protected using encryption while in motion and at rest.

The District will publish on its website the supplement to the Bill of Rights (i.e., the supplemental information described above) for any contract or other written agreement it has entered into with a third-party contractor that will receive PII from the District. The Bill of Rights and supplemental information may be redacted to the extent necessary to safeguard the privacy and/or security of the District's data and/or technology infrastructure.

Right of Parents and Eligible Students to Inspect and Review Students' Education Records

Consistent with the obligations of the District under FERPA, parents and eligible students have the right to inspect and review a student's education record by making a request directly to the District in a manner prescribed by the District.

The District will ensure that only authorized individuals are able to inspect and review student data. To that end, the District will take steps to verify the identity of parents or eligible students who submit requests to inspect and review an education record and verify the individual's authority to do so.

Requests by a parent or eligible student for access to a student's education records must be directed to the District and not to a third-party contractor. The District may require that requests to inspect and review education records be made in writing.

The District will notify parents annually of their right to request to inspect and review their child's education record including any student data stored or maintained by the District through its annual FERPA notice. A notice separate from the District's annual FERPA notice is not required.

The District will comply with a request for access to records within a reasonable period, but not more than 45 calendar days after receipt of a request.

The District may provide the records to a parent or eligible student electronically, if the parent consents. The District must transmit the PII in a way that complies with laws and regulations. Safeguards associated with industry standards and best practices, including but not limited to encryption and password protection, must be in place when education records requested by a parent or eligible student are electronically transmitted.

Complaints of Breach or Unauthorized Release of Student Data and/or Teacher or Principal Data

The District will inform parents, through its Parents' Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security, that they have the right to submit complaints about possible breaches of student data to the Chief Privacy Officer at NYSED. In addition, the District has established the following procedures for parents, eligible students, teachers, principals, and other District staff to file complaints with the District about breaches or unauthorized releases of student data and/or teacher or principal data:

a) All complaints made to the District must be submitted in writing to the District's Data Protection Officer.

b) Upon receipt of a complaint, the District will promptly acknowledge receipt of the complaint, commence an investigation, and take the necessary precautions to protect PII.

c) Following the investigation of a submitted complaint, the District will provide the individual who filed the complaint with its findings. This will be completed within a reasonable period of time, but no more than 60 calendar days from the receipt of the complaint by the District.

d) If the District requires additional time, or where the response may compromise security or impede a law enforcement investigation, the District will provide the individual who filed the complaint with a written explanation that includes the approximate date when the District anticipates that it will respond to the complaint.

These procedures will be disseminated to parents, eligible students, teachers, principals, and other District staff.

The District will maintain a record of all complaints of breaches or unauthorized releases of student data and their disposition in accordance with applicable data retention policies, including the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule ED-1 (1988; rev. 2004).

Reporting a Breach or Unauthorized Release

The District will report every discovery or report of a breach or unauthorized release of student data or teacher or principal data within the District to the Chief Privacy Officer without unreasonable delay, but no more than 10 calendar days after the discovery.

Each third-party contractor that receives student data or teacher or principal data pursuant to a contract or other written agreement entered into with the District will be required to promptly notify the District of any breach of security resulting in an unauthorized release of the data by the third-party contractor or its assignees in violation of applicable laws and regulations, the Parents' Bill of Rights for Student Data Privacy and Security, District policy, and/or binding contractual obligations relating to data privacy and security, in the most expedient way possible and without unreasonable delay, but no more than seven calendar days after the discovery of the breach.

In the event of notification from a third-party contractor, the District will in turn notify the Chief Privacy Officer of the breach or unauthorized release of student data or teacher or principal data no more than 10 calendar days after it receives the third-party contractor's notification using a form or format prescribed by NYSED.

Investigation of Reports of Breach or Unauthorized Release by the Chief Privacy Officer

The Chief Privacy Officer is required to investigate reports of breaches or unauthorized releases of student data or teacher or principal data by third-party contractors. As part of an investigation, the Chief Privacy Officer may require that the parties submit documentation, provide testimony, and may visit, examine, and/or inspect the third-party contractor's facilities and records.

Upon the belief that a breach or unauthorized release constitutes criminal conduct, the Chief Privacy Officer is required to report the breach and unauthorized release to law enforcement in the most expedient way possible and without unreasonable delay.

Third-party contractors are required to cooperate with the District and law enforcement to protect the integrity of investigations into the breach or unauthorized release of PII.

Upon conclusion of an investigation, if the Chief Privacy Officer determines that a third-party contractor has through its actions or omissions caused student data or teacher or principal data to be breached or released to any person or entity not authorized by law to receive this data in violation of applicable laws and regulations, District policy, and/or any binding contractual obligations, the Chief Privacy Officer is required to notify the third-party contractor of the finding and give the third-party contractor no more than 30 days to submit a written response.

If after reviewing the third-party contractor's written response, the Chief Privacy Officer determines the incident to be a violation of Education Law Section 2-d, the Chief Privacy Officer is authorized to:

a) Order the third-party contractor be precluded from accessing PII from the affected educational agency for a fixed period of up to five years;

b) Order that a third-party contractor or assignee who knowingly or recklessly allowed for the breach or unauthorized release of student data or teacher or principal data be precluded from accessing student data or teacher or principal data from any educational agency in the state for a fixed period of up to five years;

c) Order that a third-party contractor who knowingly or recklessly allowed for the breach or unauthorized release of student data or teacher or principal data will not be deemed a responsible bidder or offeror on any contract with an educational agency that involves the sharing of student data or teacher or principal data, as applicable for purposes of General Municipal Law Section 103 or State Finance Law Section 163(10)(, as applicable, for a fixed period of up to five years; and/or

d) Require the third-party contractor to provide additional training governing confidentiality of student data and/or teacher or principal data to all its officers and employees with reasonable access to this data and certify that the training has been performed at the contractor's expense. This additional training is required to be performed immediately and include a review of laws, rules, and regulations, including Education Law Section 2-d and its implementing regulations.

If the Chief Privacy Officer determines that the breach or unauthorized release of student data or teacher or principal data on the part of the third-party contractor or assignee was inadvertent and done without intent, knowledge, recklessness, or gross negligence, the Commissioner of Education may determine that no penalty be issued upon the third party contractor.

 

Notification of a Breach or Unauthorized Release

The District will notify affected parents, eligible students, teachers, and/or principals in the most expedient way possible and without unreasonable delay, but no more than 60 calendar days after the discovery of a breach or unauthorized release of PII by the District or the receipt of a notification of a breach or unauthorized release of PII from a third-party contractor unless that notification would interfere with an ongoing investigation by law enforcement or cause further disclosure of PII by disclosing an unfixed security vulnerability. Where notification is delayed under these circumstances, the District will notify parents, eligible students, teachers, and/or principals within seven calendar days after the security vulnerability has been remedied or the risk of interference with the law enforcement investigation ends.

 

Notifications will be clear, concise, use language that is plain and easy to understand, and to the extent available, include:

a) A brief description of the breach or unauthorized release, the dates of the incident and the date of discovery, if known;

b) A description of the types of PII affected;

c) An estimate of the number of records affected;

d) A brief description of the District's investigation or plan to investigate; and

e) Contact information for representatives who can assist parents or eligible students that have additional questions.

Notification will be directly provided to the affected parent, eligible student, teacher, or principal by first-class mail to their last known address, by email, or by telephone.

Where a breach or unauthorized release is attributed to a third-party contractor, the third-party contractor is required to pay for or promptly reimburse the District for the full cost of this notification.

Annual Data Privacy and Security Training

The District will annually provide data privacy and security awareness training to its officers and staff with access to PII. This training will include, but not be limited to, training on the applicable laws and regulations that protect PII and how staff can comply with these laws and regulations. The District may deliver this training using online training tools. Additionally, this training may be included as part of the training that the District already offers to its workforce.

Notification of Policy

The District will publish this policy on its website and provide notice of the policy to all its officers and staff.

Education Law § 2-d

8 NYCRR Part 121