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Student Data Privacy Bill Survives The House

A bill intended to keep school officials from requiring students to turn over their Facebook, Twitter, or phone passwords has passed the House of Representatives. The controversial bill has received mixed reviews from school officials and lawmakers who say it could put schools in danger. 

Senate File 14 passed after Speaker of the House Kermit Brown successfully amended the bill to allow school officials to demand passwords if there is an imminent threat to the school or a person. Despite the amendment, Gillette Republican Bill Pownall asked House members to oppose the bill because he says the legislation will make school officials afraid to confront a serious problem.

“I firmly believe that they are going to stand back and they’re not going to do anything. They’re going to miss an opportunity that may save lives, or save bullying, or save suicide. I believe that they’re in fear of either being sued or losing their job.”

House Education Chairman David Northrup noted that the bill was heavily amended in the House and Senate. He said that maybe lawmakers should start from scratch.

Sundance Republican Tyler Lindholm said the bill is still needed, stating that it is important to protect a student’s private information.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.

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