What is SOPPA?
Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA)
The Student Online Personal Protection Act (105 ILCS 85/), or SOPPA, is a State law that is intended to protect the privacy and security of students’ online data at school. When SOPPA was originally enacted, it regulated how educational technology vendors handle student data. In 2019, the law was significantly amended by Public Act 101-516 to also regulate how schools and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) manage student data, in addition to vendors. The amendment is effective July 1, 2021.
While we have always made and will continue to make every effort to protect the privacy of our students, SOPPA requires us to implement additional safeguards, including a more rigorous vetting process of digital solutions that capture students’ personal information.
Illinois State Board of Education
The ISBE's Student Information System is exempt from SOPPA and does not require a privacy agreement. Further, when ISBE shares student data with standardized testing vendors for assessments such as the Standardized Achievement Test, the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, or the Illinois Science Assessment, a privacy agreement with the district is not required.
Reference, Research, and Edutainment Websites
A privacy agreement is only required in the event a school shares student data with a vendor for K-12 education purposes. Therefore, if a teacher directs students to reference sites like Dictionary.com or Wikipedia, or to "edutainment" sites like those with math or spelling games, then no data is shared and an agreement is not required.
Student-Created Accounts and General Internet Usage
If a student creates an account on a website of their own accord, such as a social media account or a streaming media account, then this is also not covered under SOPPA and no agreement is required. Similarly, student web surfing for research or during free time is not covered by SOPPA. However, use of these accounts and general Internet access are still subject to content filtering at school and on school devices per the federal Children's Internet Protection Act.