Updated version of 2019 bill S. 295, this bill could be split in two and modified to allow more time, but any modification should insure that local control is retained. The bill has two parts:
- Requires schools to set processes and evolving, benchmarked goals to support privacy and safer technology behaviors.
- Establishes state and local committees to develop policy and a scope and sequence for curriculum on digital tech issues and mitigation.
An Act Accounting for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees
SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding, after Section 93, the following section:-
SECTION 93A. DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY PRIVACY AND SAFETY MEASURES
(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:
“Granular opt-out processes for different uses of data” is providing separate options to refuse different types of data sharing. Considerations include but are not limited to placement in a yearbook or directory, using cloud services, or using school-issued devices or personal devices.
“Opt-out alternatives for technology” is an opt-out of using technology with a comparable or alternative non-technological assignment.
“Students and staff” includes all students in pre-K through 12th grade, including students in home schooling, as well as preK-12th grade staff and teachers, including tutors and extra-curricular leaders. Tutors or other arranged staff, including legal guardians or volunteers, that provide extra-curricular activities or other educational learning, are also included.
“Scope and sequence” refers to a document providing an overview of the scope, or depth and breadth, of content to be taught at a specific grade level and the sequence, or order in which content should be taught throughout the year.
“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:
(1) standard identifying information:
i. names of staff and students
ii. dates of birth
v. medical information
vi. exam results
vii. staff development reviews
ix. other personal identifying information
(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological identifiers such as voice audio or fingerprints
(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art
(4) political views
(5) socioeconomic data
(6) disciplinary data
(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.
(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided
(b) Each school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or with the board of trustees of a charter school shall support the security, privacy, safety, and wellbeing of students and staff by establishing the following, allowing for exceptions when not applicable:
(i) Granular opt-out processes for different uses of data;
(ii) Identification and labeling of processes and equipment which may risk confidentiality or safety;
(iii) Respectable informed consent and opt-out procedures;
(iv) Shredding or secure erasure of unneeded data;
(v) Access to clearly described vendor data collection policies and data security for relevant students, legal guardians, and staff;
(vi) Preferred technology vendors, software, websites, and equipment to meet considerations for privacy, health, safety, access, and limitations on marketing;
(vii) Staff training and student technology education on confidentiality, privacy, safety, health, security, and marketing concerns;
(viii) Policies on digital devices to protect confidentiality, privacy, health, security, safety, and prevent marketing concerns;
(ix) Policies and procedures on screen time limits;
(x) Timelines to move towards hard-wiring equipment, isolating systems, providing safer technology, reducing technological reliance, and other more expensive or time-consuming procedures for security and safety;
(xi) Full identification and records of preferred vendors, software, and equipment, to allow legal redress;
(xii) Evolving goals and established processes for reducing staff and student reliance on and use of technology that undermines confidentiality, health, safety, security, wellbeing, or serves marketing purposes; and
(xiii) Yearly benchmarks set by the district and schools to move towards goals set in (b) (xii).
(c) Each public school committee in conjunction with the superintendent and each board of trustees of a charter school shall provide for a scope and sequence for curriculum on using digital technology more safely and with sociological awareness, hereafter called Digital Scope & Sequence (DSS). The DSS shall include, as age-appropriate, personal, health, and sociological problems arising from technology use. DSS topics shall include but not be limited to the areas of privacy, automation, addiction, job turnover, monopoly, propaganda, marketing, stalking, profiling, health, environment, resource scarcity, programming errors, and weapons. In conjunction with these topics, the DSS shall require education on mitigation of technology problems and age-appropriate practices in healthier, safer and more environmentally-friendly and responsible technology use, behavior, and communication.
The DSS shall be designed flexibly to allow for integration of concepts across disciplines, current events, and to respond to rapidly evolving technology.
(d) Each public school committee in conjunction with the superintendent and each board of trustees of a charter school shall provide for a Digital Safety Policy, hereafter called DSP, for safer use of technology. Any such DSP shall:
(1) Require the notification of the parents, legal guardians, students, and additional stakeholders of the policy and any changes to it every two years at the beginning of the academic year with opportunity for public input and recommendations;
(2) Be evaluated at least every two years by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or board of trustees of a charter school to ensure that the policy conforms to current law, internet practices and technical requirements of teachers, provided that the results of the evaluation are made subject to a public hearing to accept public comment and input;
(3) Require employment of a DSS pursuant to subsection (c) of this section;
(4) Insure technology use is educationally-focused;
(5) Provide for accessibility through universal design;
(6) Provide a procedure for legal guardians and students to register complaints with respect to DSP failures;
(7) Establish and make publicly available the specific measures to protect privacy, safety and health pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and make publicly available the individuals responsible for making these decisions; and
(8) Restrict access to online content that contains obscenity, pornography, or material harmful to minors including the following measures:
i. Make publicly available specific measures to block, filter, or alter websites, the basis for doing so, and the individuals who are responsible for making those decisions;
ii. Provide a procedure for teachers to override a website that has been blocked, provided that the website does not contain obscenity, pornography, or material harmful to minors;
iii. Establish criteria for the overruling of a request by a teacher to allow access to a website that is blocked by internet protection measures, a procedure to provide the requesting party with an explanation of the reasons for denial of a request, and a procedure to record and submit any requests and overrulings to the school committee every two years;
(e) Each district or charter school shall establish a Digital Safety Council with relevant expertise or abilities to develop, examine, and review the DSS and DSP, and shall publicly invite and not exclude parents, legal guardians, and local public school teachers as members who must be in the majority. Digital Safety Council members may not have served or serve as a product defense consultant or expert for the industry, and members must submit conflict of interest statements that shall be retained in district or charter school records and be freely available to the public. The Digital Safety Council shall have 9 months to provide an initial draft, which shall be provided to the local public school teachers and the local community for a 45-day review period to allow for criticism and ensuing revision for a period of four months.
(e) The state Board of Education shall provide a template for the DSP and DSS and may provide additional recommended resources and materials. The Board of Education shall establish a state-wide Digital Safety Council, hereafter called DSC, to prepare templates and additional materials, and shall provide support, a platform for reports, and coordination of meetings, whether by secure conference call, online exchange, or in person.
The state DSC shall include 6 public school teachers (including former or retired public school teachers), 3 legal guardians of public school students, 3 advocates, 2 medical professionals, and 1 public school administrator. The state Education Board shall insure the DSC is established by accepting for appointment teachers nominated by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, an advocate nominated by the Massachusetts ACLU, an advocate nominated by the Children’s Screen Time Network, an advocate nominated by [uncertain – Environmental Health Trust?], a physician nominated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, and a psychologist nominated by the Massachusetts Psychological Association. If any organization listed chooses not to nominate to the DSC, then the state Education Board may select an individual. The Education Board shall also be tasked with identifying a public school administrator to join the DSC.
DSC members shall be provided with reasonable costs for travel, conferencing, and research needs. For low-income DSC members with need, an hourly wage or stipend for meeting attendance shall be provided to prevent exclusion.
The DSC shall invite public comment and presentations or information from technology experts, scientists, and doctors with relevant, current expertise regarding DSS and DSP concerns.
The process and publication the DSP, DSS, and relevant materials shall be within one year from appointment, with drafts published at 3, 6, and 9 months for public comment. The DSS and DSP model materials, including the scope & sequence, shall be updated every two years or sooner to reflect the evolution of technology, society, and the continuing advice of the legal guardians, students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, as well as privacy and safer technology advocates. Updates shall require only one draft and comment period before publication.