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MEDIA CENTER

Protecting Your Child's Personal Information at School 

It’s back to school time and that means filling out forms: registration forms, health forms, permission slips, and emergency contact forms, to name a few.  Many school forms require personal and, sometimes, sensitive information. “Parents need to be very mindful when giving out information about their child,” states Jana Castanon spokesperson for Apprisen.  “In the wrong hands, this information can be used to commit fraud in your child's name.”  Often times when children are victims of identity theft, the crime may go undetected for years — or at least until they apply for a job, a student loan, car loan, or want to rent an apartment and the fraud shows up on their credit report.

It is important to be conscientious when we give our personal information. It is perfectly appropriate to question how that information is going to be used.  A well informed consumer is less likely to become a victim of fraud.  Apprisen recommends that parents follow these suggestions from the Federal Trade Commission to help protect your child’s identity:

  • 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 with your child, through the mail or by email, which asks for personal information. Look for terms like personally identifiable information, directory information, and opt-out. Before you reveal any personal information about your child, find out how it will be used, whether it will be shared, and with whom. 
  • Read the annual notice schools must distribute that explains your rights under FERPA. This federal law protects the privacy of student education records, and gives you the right to:

                         inspect and review your child's education records
                         consent to the disclosure of personal information in the records
                         ask to correct errors in the records 

  • Ask your child's school about its directory information policy. Student directory information can include your child's name, address, date of birth, telephone number, email address, and photo. The law requires schools to notify parents and guardians about their school directory policy, and give you the right to opt-out of the release of directory information to third parties. It's best to put your request in writing and keep a copy for your files. If you don't opt-out, directory information may be available not only to the people in your child's class and school, but also to the general public.
  • Ask for a copy of your school's policy on surveys. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) gives you the right to see surveys and instructional materials before they are distributed to students.
  • Consider programs that take place at the school but aren't sponsored by the school. Your child may participate in programs, like sports and music activities, that aren't formally sponsored by the school. These programs may have web sites where children are named and pictured. Read the privacy policies of these organizations, and make sure you understand how your child's information will be used and shared.
  • 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.
    For additional resources on how to protect yourself and your family, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission or Apprisen’s website www.apprisen.com/learning-center/quick-tips

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Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for over 55 years. Certified counselors provide money management and debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling, and financial education. Services are provided in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit credit counseling organization in the country, Apprisen was formerly known in its local communities as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), CCCS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, www.Apprisen.com. You can "like us" on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Apprisen and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Apprisen.

 

 

 

 

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