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Student Digital Privacy Under Review

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The Wyoming Senate has starting working on a bill that is intended to clarify a student's digital privacy. Senate File 20 would prohibit an officer or employee of a school district from accessing a current or prospective student’s digital accounts – like their personal email or Facebook. 

It also prevents a student from being punished for not divulging such information. The legislature defeated a similar bill last year. 

Proponents say the bill protects students’ rights to privacy.

Opponents of the bill argue that keeping such information private is not in the best interest of school or student safety. For example, if a student expresses suicidal thoughts on social media this bill could prevent school officials from accessing that information. 

The major change in this year’s legislation is that school staff who are found in violation of this act will no longer face a fine. Senator Jeff Wasserburger successfully amended the bill to allow access a student electronic device if a school official is trying to prevent bodily harm from occurring. 

The measure is scheduled to be debated for a final time on Friday.

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