Data Security and Approved Applications

Tacoma Public Schools is committed to protecting students and their data when using digital resources

Anti-Virus and Student Internet Filtering - Both on and away from campus

Student computers are configured with anti-virus and internet filtering software to keep students secure when using their devices at school, or away from campus.

Office 365

As part of Tacoma School District software license agreement with Microsoft, the district provides Microsoft 365 to all students, including an email address. Elementary and middle school students are blocked from receiving and sending emails outside the district. High school students can send and receive external mail to support their academic needs. 

Access to YouTube

A common question is whether students have access to YouTube. The answer is yes, with certain restrictions. The district utilizes YouTube’s Restricted Mode to block potentially objectionable content. 

How does YouTube do this? They utilize community flagging and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content. To learn more about YouTube’s Restricted mode, visit their restricted mode information page.

Student Data Privacy and Security

Tacoma Public Schools takes student data privacy seriously. Online products used with students go through a rigorous vetting process to ensure data security and privacy. Student computers are intended for educational purposes only, and therefore unapproved products and internet sites that pose security risks, or products that do not meet educational alignment to state and district adopted standards may be blocked for students.

The district Compliance Committee reviews all digital products used in the district. If the committee agrees that the product is safe and educationally aligned, we contact the publisher to sign a district Data Sharing Agreement. If the publisher is willing to work with the district, we then approved the product. See Approved product list for more information.

Federal and State Laws

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, (FERPA), was passed in its initial form in 1974. It focuses on the protection of student education records and grants access rights to parents up until the student reaches the age of 18, at which point the rights transfer to the student.

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) provides parental rights to limit the personal information that schools may collect from students. Parents have the ability to opt their student out of surveys that include personal information, such as political affiliation, mental health, religion, and more

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, (COPPA), focuses on the protection of data for young children by requiring operators of online services, websites, games, or mobile applications to obtain permission from parents before collecting personal information online from children under 13. The Act applies to schools when they are acting as “agents” of parents by contracting with online services or websites for educational purposes. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees COPPA, outlines best practices for schools to follow when contracting with a third-party website or online services provider, but does not mandate compliance.

The Student User Privacy in Education Rights Act (SUPER) This Act requires service providers to provide clear privacy policies and notice of any policy changes and requires service providers to have a security plan. This Act also prohibits service providers from selling student information or from using it for targeted advertising, creating a profile, or any purpose not agreed to without consent.

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) This Act requires districts to certify that they have an internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures. These protection measures must block or filter internet access to inappropriate content.