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District first in Missouri to be certified ‘Cyber Aware’

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway visited the Fredericktown School District Tuesday and commended officials on their efforts to be a Cyber Aware School.

The school district has a policy in place which requires notification if a data breach occurs.

Superintendent Brett Reutzel, Board Member Xandra Sonderman, and High School Principal Shannon Henson represented the district in accepting a certificate from Galloway which officially certifies the district as a Cyber Aware School. The district is the first in Missouri to receive this recognition.

Galloway plans to visit more school districts in October during Cyber Security Month. She said one of the things she found when talking to school districts and parents is that it is not state law to notify parents, families, students, faculty or staff if there is a cyber security breach.

“Some school districts like yourself have taken it upon yourselves to go that extra mile,” Galloway said. “We know if the kid’s social security number is stolen or compromised it ruins their credit before they even get started in life.”

“Parents should know if their children or family’s personal information has been compromised in a data breach,” Galloway said. “Fredericktown R-I School District has made this a part of their policy and shown they are committed to cyber awareness.”

During the previous legislative session, Galloway was part of a bipartisan effort to change the law and require parental notification in the case of a data breach. The bill is expected to be filed again during the 2018 legislative session.

Since taking office, Galloway has focused on efforts to keep Missourians’ information secure by incorporating data security into the standard audit process and regularly making recommendations to counties, municipalities and courts on ways to better safeguard electronic records. She is also reviewing ways to better protect electronic data within state government.

The visit was part of a statewide initiative by Galloway to encourage schools to adopt a policy which will increase safeguards for students whose information is compromised during a data breach.

Galloway took some time to stop in and talk to Colton Wooldridge’s Business Law Class at the high school. She discussed her background and explained what being an auditor meant. Students were then given an opportunity to ask questions. They expressed interest in how their information would be protected and asked questions about how the policy works. 

Reutzel said measures are being taken to protect information. He said if anything was to happen, the correct channels would be contacted to fix the problem, and anyone who was impacted would be informed. The district will also take steps to educate those affected by telling them what steps they should take after the breach.

Sonderman said without the support and ideas from Henson and Reutzel this policy wouldn’t be what it is today. She said having them in the district the last four years has created some great advances.

Anyone who would like to view the district’s current policy, can find it at www.fspk12.org under the board of education link. 

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway speaks to Colton Wooldridge's Business Law Class during her visit to Fredericktown High School on Tuesday.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway speaks to Colton Wooldridge’s Business Law Class during her visit to Fredericktown High School on Tuesday.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway discusses cyber security with Fredericktown Superintendent Brett Reutzel during her visit Tuesday.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway discusses cyber security with Fredericktown Superintendent Brett Reutzel during her visit Tuesday.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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