Missouri School Districts Score High Marks on Cybersecurity

State Auditor Nicole Galloway commended six districts for their proactive approaches to protecting student data.

by Cody Mroczka, Lake Sun Leader / October 25, 2017

(TNS) -- The Morgan County R-II School District was one of six southern Missouri schools recently recognized by Auditor Nicole Galloway for proactive approaches to cybersecurity awareness.

While traveling the state to promote National Cyber Security Month, Galloway stopped at Morgan County R-II on Oct. 19, 2017 to present an award to Superintendent Dr. Joyce Ryerson, Technology Coordinator Aaron Whitfield, and Instructional Technology Coordinator Nicole Whitfield.

Galloway also spent time discussing the importance of cyberawareness and proactive security approaches with a current events class, while taking questions from Tiger students. According to the school district, it begins teaching cybersecurity, cyberbullying and internet safety in kindergarten while continuing that approach through the student's high school years.

"In addition, the district uses internet filtering to help keep students safe while on school computers (this includes Google Chromebooks) and while students are connected to the district's WIFI on their own devices," according to a blog post addressing the subject.

Current state law does not require notification if student information is compromised during a cybersecurity audit, according to a press release from Galloway's office, but the state's only Democratic official was part of a statewide initiative encouraging schools to adopt a safeguard policy in the event of a data breach. The bill is expected to be filed again during the 2018 legislative session.

Morgan County, along with Houston R-I, Mountain Grove R-III, Ava R-I, Dallas County R-1, and Bolivar R-1, were recognized for already having policies in place that require notification.

"State law does not require schools to notify parents if their children or family's personal information has been compromised in a data breach, and as a parent and as state auditor, I find that concerning," Galloway said. "I'm pleased to visit and congratulate these schools for taking a proactive approach to cyberawareness and voluntarily incorporating this critical step into their policies."

Galloway is also in the process of reviewing ways to better protect electronic data within state government.

©2017 Lake Sun Leader, Camdenton, Mo. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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