For the last 5 years, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has fought to keep your students’ data private and secure. A recent report published by the Coalition grades each state in how effective your state’s laws are in protecting your child – and not surprisingly, most states are not moving to the head of the class.

But let’s start with a little history lesson in student data privacy.

45 years ago, the federal government passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, known as FERPA. Over time, holes have been punched in this law time and again to allow schools and educational institutions to sell your child’s personal student data to vendors without parental consent. FERPA is the primary federal student privacy law.

Though many strides have been made to shore up this data, a recent report indicates that the Education industry ranks last when it comes to cybersecurity. In response the FBI put out an advisory about the risks associated with education tech tools and the collection of the sensitive data by these vendors. It notes the misuse of this data could “result in social engineering, bullying, tracking, identity theft, or other means for targeting children.”

As a parent, you are always on alert when it comes to protecting your children from the physical world around them, teaching them safety, Stranger Danger and the scary world of social media threats. But are you thinking about their personal information and the risk of their identities being stolen and used?

Children are prime targets because a criminal can go years behind this mask created by your child’s stolen Social Security number and other personal student data, committing crimes, defaulting on loans and getting medical coverage and assistance.

This 2019 State Student Privacy Report Card grades 39 states plus the District of Columbia on categories for the effectiveness of state laws including Transparency; Parental and Student Rights; Limitations on Commercial Use of Data; Data Security Requirements; and Oversight, Enforcement, and Penalties for Violations. It’s a great place to start to educate yourself on your rights as a parent and protecting your child.

You should also invest in an identity theft protection service that will blanket your child with insurance, monitoring and recovery to guard your most valuable asset – your child.