OPSB holds special meeting to pass new privacy policy

Courtesy: MGN
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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The Ouachita Parish School Board held a special meeting on Tuesday night to approve a proposed student privacy policy. This comes after a law meant to protect student's information went into effect over the weekend. And it's affecting schools all across Louisiana.

The law prevents schools from publishing two pieces of student identifiable information together. This includes things like names on a sports roster all the way to yearbook photos.

On Tuesday, the school board unanimously passed a 9 page privacy addition to its handbook to comply with the law. Superintendent Don Coker says other than the addition of this privacy policy to the handbook nothing is going to change.

"We will be able to do our football rosters and we will be able to do our class lists on the wall. And we will be able to do our year books and pictures and all that," said Coker.

Under the new law schools weren't going to be able to provide student information to anyone outside the school district. Ken Monroe is the IT director for the district and is tasked with making sure everything is in place as the first day of school quickly approaches.

"You couldn't even print the first and last name of a student and put it on the door of a class room," said Monroe.

Now, the policy gives the school board the right to distribute student information to a degree. And if parents don't want their kid's information released they have to let the school board know.

"The parent would have to notify the schools to let them know if they do not want some of this regular information that we would normally put out there released," said Coker.

Students are also getting specific identification numbers assigned from the state. Previously, in the Ouachita Parish School District, student numbers were based off their social security numbers. Now, a third party company will provide ID numbers that stay with the students all through their schooling in Louisiana.

Coker says having a policy in place before school started was extremely important, especially with the high fines and possible jail times that come with breaking the law.