House moves on student privacy bill - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

House moves on student privacy bill

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - From our telephone to social security numbers, we all have a fear of our sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

But for students in Louisiana, social security numbers are shared all the time, even without parental knowledge. But some legislators want education reform in the area of student identification.

They've been debating Common Core, but another hot button issue made its way through the house education committee this week. House Bill 946 deals specifically with the way students are identified.

Currently students use their social security numbers for various things, such as scholarships, standardized testing scores and college applications.

Ouachita Parish Superintendent Bob Webber said his school district only uses social security numbers when necessary.

"Internally we use student id numbers that we actually give to students for absenteeism, for report cards, for grades and things like that," Webber said.

Under this bill, students all over the state would receive identification numbers in lieu of using their social security numbers.

Representative John Schroder, of Covington, originally introduced the bill with stricter guidelines. But committee members questioned the unintended consequences, like losing federal dollars. So now, an amended bill is advancing to the house floor.

Webber backs the bill and says safety is their primary concern with students, instruction is second.

"That is the whole issue as far as safety and privacy. We all know once something is out there it is very difficult to bring it back. I think with social security numbers, we know that they can follow you around the rest of your life," Webber said.

Webber said a state-wide identification system would also help when students transfer to other Louisiana school districts.

But most importantly, it would make sure students are safe and their information is kept private.

If the bill becomes law, it's not expected to go into effect until the 2015-2016 school year.

This would give the state time to overhaul its existing system.

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