As the school year gets underway, the K-12 Cybersecurity Act passed in the Senate.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Homeland Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., would direct the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to complete a study of the cybersecurity risks that schools face and develop recommendations and resources for schools.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the bill in July after it was reintroduced in May by Sens. Peters and Scott.
“Increasing ransomware attacks against our K-12 schools are unacceptable and place children, faculty, and staff at risk. Unfortunately, many school districts that store valuable personal information currently lack the means to defend themselves against complicated cyber-attacks and ensure their networks are protected,” said Sen. Peters.
If the legislation is signed into law, CISA will be tasked to work with teachers, school administrators, other Federal departments, and private sector organizations to complete a study of cybersecurity risks specific to K-12 educational institutions, including risks related to securing sensitive student and employee records and challenges related to remote-learning. Following the study, CISA will put together an online toolkit for schools to use.
Sen. Peters noted in a statement that the legislation has been endorsed by the Consortium for School Networking, School Superintendents Association, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the American Federation of Teachers.
The legislation has a companion bill in the House, which was approved by the House Committee on Homeland Security on July 28. The bill is currently awaiting full consideration on the House floor.