What is COPPA and how does it relate to my child's education?
COPPA requires operators of commercial websites, online services, and mobile apps to notify parents and obtain their consent before collecting any personally identifiable information on children under the age of 13. The aim is to give parents more control over what information is collected from their children online.
Many school districts contract with third-party website operators to
offer online programs solely for the benefit of their students and for the school system - for example, individualized education modules, online research and organizational tools, or web-based testing services. In these cases, the school may act as the parent's agent and can consent to the collection of kids' information on the parent's behalf. However, the school's ability to consent on behalf of the parent is limited to the educational context - where an operator collects personal information from students for the use and benefit of the school, and for no other commercial purpose.
Whether the operator gets consent from the school or from the parent, the operator must still comply with other COPPA requirements.
(Information from the Federal Trade Commission's BCP Business Center and Education Week.)