SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1738        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 295


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Donald F. Humason, Jr., (BY REQUEST)


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act accounting for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees.






Kirstin Beatty


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1738        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 295

By Mr. Humason (by request), a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 295) of Kirstin Beatty for legislation to account for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees.  Education.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court



An Act accounting for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1.  Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding, after Section 93, the following section:-


(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:

(1) standard identifying information:

i.names of staff and students

ii.dates of birth



v.medical information

vi.exam results

vii.staff development reviews


ix.other personal identifying information

(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological identifiers such as voice audio or fingerprints

(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art

(4) political views

(5) socioeconomic data

(6) disciplinary data

(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff,  but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.

(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided

“Granular opt-out processes for different uses of data” is providing separate options to refuse different types of data sharing. Considerations include but are not limited to placement in a yearbook or directory, using cloud services, or using school-issued devices or personal devices. 

“Opt-out alternatives for technology” is an opt-out of using technology with a comparable or alternative non-technological assignment.

“Students and staff” includes all students in pre-K through 12th grade, including students in home schooling, as well as preK-12th grade staff and teachers, including tutors and extra-curricular leaders. Tutors or other arranged staff, including legal guardians or volunteers, that provide extra-curricular activities or other educational learning, are also included.

“Scope and sequence” refers to a document providing an overview of the scope, or depth and breadth, of content to be taught at a specific grade level and the sequence, or order in which content should be taught throughout the year.

(b) Each public school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school shall also provide for a scope and sequence for a Safer Technology & Digital Citizenship Curriculum, hereafter called STDC, which shall include age-appropriate practices in healthier, safer and more environmentally-friendly and responsible technology use, behavior, and communication. The STDC shall include, as age-appropriate, education in individual and societal risks from technology, including but not limited to risks stemming from privacy loss, automation, digital addiction, loss of human contact, environmental costs, reduced health, programming mistakes, and aptness as weapons, shaping tools, and propaganda.

The STDC shall be flexible to allow for integration of concepts across disciplines, current events, and to respond to rapidly evolving technology.

(c) Each public school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school shall provide for a Technology

Safety Policy, hereafter called TSP, for safer use of technology. Any such TSP shall:

(1) Require the notification of the parents, legal guardians, students, and additional stakeholders of the policy and any changes to it every two years at the beginning of the academic year with opportunity for public input and recommendations;

(2) Be evaluated at least every two years by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or board of trustees of a charter school to ensure that the policy conforms to current law, internet practices and technical requirements of teachers, provided that the results of the evaluation are made subject to a public hearing to accept public comment and input;

(3) Require employment of a STDC pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;

(4) Insure technology use is educationally-focused;

(5) Provide for accessibility through universal design;

(6) Provide a procedure for legal guardians and students to register complaints with respect to TSP failures;

(7) Establish and make publicly available the specific measures to protect privacy, safety and health pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, and make publicly available the individuals responsible for making these decisions; and

(8) Restrict access to online content that contains obscenity, pornography, or material harmful to minors including the following measures: 

i.Make publicly available specific measures to block, filter, or alter websites, the basis for doing so, and the individuals who are responsible for making those decisions;

ii.Provide a procedure for teachers to override a website that has been blocked, provided that the website does not contain obscenity, pornography, or material harmful to minors;

iii.Establish criteria for the overruling of a request by a teacher to allow access to a website that is blocked by the internet protection measures, a procedure to provide the requesting party with an explanation of the reasons for denial of a request, and a procedure to record and submit any requests and overrulings to the school committee every two years; and

(d) Each district or charter school shall establish a Technology Safety Council with relevant expertise or abilities to develop, examine, and review the STDC and TSP, and shall publicly invite and not exclude parents, legal guardians, and local public school teachers as members, besides invitations to advocates or experts in safer technology. Technology Safety Council members may not have served or serve as a product defense consultant or expert for the industry, and members must submit conflict of interest statements. Technology Safety Council members and conflict of interest statements shall available to the public at no cost. The formation of the Technology Safety Council shall be publicly announced and posted within 45 days and formed within 70 days of enactment of this section. The Technology Safety Council shall have 9 months to provide an initial draft.  Upon initial completion, the STDC shall be provided to the local public school teachers and the local community for a 45-day review period to allow for criticism and ensuing revision for a period of four months.

(e) The state Board of Education shall provide a template for the TSP and STDC and may provide additional materials. The Board of Education shall establish a Safer Tech Council to prepare these models, and provide needed support and coordination of meetings, whether by secure conference call, online exchange, or in person.

Safer Tech Council members shall be provided with reasonable costs for travel or conference and research needs. An hourly wage or stipend for work shall be provided based on need to prevent exclusion of lower-income or financially struggling members.

(f) Massachusetts residents and non-governmental organizations shall have the right to make nominations to the Safer Tech Council of members and of relevant concerning issues.  Relevant experts or advocates may also self-nominate. Following enactment of this section, there shall be a public announcement of nominations and a 25-day period for nominations. Nominations shall be contacted immediately or regularly and as soon as possible to determine interest in the position and any conflicts of interest. Interested nominees shall be listed for the public as soon as possible and at minimum within the following 25 days, and then remain listed and accessible for a period of 35 days, to allow for Massachusetts residents and non-governmental organizations to express opposition to member nominations. Opposition to member nominations shall be listed in the public record. Nominations of concerning issues shall also be listed, along with relevant interests, background, abilities, and any conflicts of interest of member nominees.

The Safer Tech Council shall include public and retired public school teachers, public school legal guardians, and public school administrators. Other members of the Safer Tech Council shall be privacy and safer technology advocates. Technology experts, scientists, and doctors with relevant, current expertise regarding STDC and TSP concerns shall assist. Excepting that technology experts may be excused from the influence of employment, all Safer Tech Council members shall be free of undue and unusual financial or industry influence from employment, investments, or business clients served. Safer Tech Council members may not have served as a product defense consultant or expert for the industry.

The Board of Education shall have 35 days following submission of opposition statements to select a final list of Safer Tech Council members from nominees, providing for relevant expertise to address the concerning issues provided in relation to the STDC and TSP. The Board of Education shall simultaneously prepare a public document, signed by all board members and noting objections by any member, clearly explaining reasoning for any decision to fail to provide qualified experts or advocates for a relevant concern or to ignore opposition to certain candidates when based on concerns that the nominee is unduly influenced by financial interests, industry, or, in the case of experts, lacks appropriate expertise and credentials, and in the specific case of advocates, lacks appropriate history. This document may be used by any Massachusetts resident to engage in an expedited suit for a summary judgment regarding removal or addition of members to the Safer Tech Council, and may be used similarly by the attorney general, provided that the multiple suits shall be combined. The expedited suit shall allow for the addition of a member or members to the Safer Tech Council based upon failure to address a concerning issue with knowledgeable and appropriate members or serve to remove and potentially replace a member based upon failure to provide advocates with appropriate experience; failure to prevent undue financial or industry influence; or failure to provide experts with appropriate expertise or credentials.

The inability to continue serving or retirement of any Safer Tech Council member shall initiate the same selection process following a 45-day grace period.

(g) The Board of Education and Safer Tech Council shall heed the advice of privacy and safer technology advocates in drafting the model TSP and STDC materials in order to best protect students, adopting caution and avoiding risk. The process and publication of relevant TSP and STDC materials shall be within one year from appointment to the Safer Tech Council, with drafts published at 3 and 6 and 9 months for public comment. The STDC and TSP model materials, including the scope & sequence, shall be updated every two years or sooner to reflect the evolution of technology, society, and the continuing advice of the legal guardians, students, parents, teachers, and school administration, as well as privacy and safer technology advocates. Updates shall require only one draft and comment period before publication.

(h) Each school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or board of trustees of a charter school shall support the protection of privacy, health, and safety by establishing the following, allowing for exceptions when not applicable:

(i) Granular opt-out processes for different uses of data;

(ii) Identification and labeling of processes and equipment which may risk confidentiality or safety;

(iii) Respectable informed consent and opt-out procedures;

(iv) Shredding or secure erasure of unneeded data;

(v) Access to clearly described vendor data collection policies and data security to relevant students, legal guardians, and staff;

(vi) Preferred technology vendors, software, and equipment for privacy protections, health, and safety;

(vii) Staff training and student education on the confidentiality, privacy, and technological health and safety concerns;

(viii) Policies on digital devices to protect confidentiality, health, and safety;

(ix) Policies and procedures on screen time limits;

(x) Timelines to move towards hard-wiring equipment, isolating systems, providing safer technology, reducing technological reliance, and other more expensive or time-consuming procedures for security and safety;

(xi) Evolving goals and established processes for reducing staff and student reliance on and use of technology that threatens confidentiality, health, or safety; and

(xii) Yearly benchmarks set by the district and schools to move towards goals.