Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) announced a new bill on Monday to improve K-12 schools’ ability to protect students against cyber attacks. The Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act is a bipartisan bill being co-led by Representative Doris Matsui (CA-07) to expand cyber prevention information sharing, improve tracking of cyber-attacks across the nation, and increase resources for K-12 schools to combat these crimes.
“When I was working on the White House’s National Security Council, I witnessed firsthand how important it is to prioritize cybersecurity. With these crimes on the rise, it’s imperative that we provide our schools with the tools to keep students’ information secure,” said Rep. Nunn. “In the wake of the ransomware incident in January, I’m proud to work across the aisle to ensure our schools have the resources and training they need to protect students.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified the need to address K-12 cybersecurity, noting cybercriminals are “disproportionately targeting the education sector.” The bill would address this growing problem, including:
- Protecting kids by improving data privacy tools through the creation of a K-12 cybersecurity technology improvement program.
- Keeping schools safe by increasing cybersecurity resources through the establishment of a cybersecurity information exchange.
- Preventing cyber attacks by enhancing coordination, including creating a cybersecurity incident registry.
“Cyber attacks against schools are not a Des Moines issue or an Iowa issue, they are a national challenge that impacts the education of our students and the work of our teachers. This legislation will help schools and technology experts share information, tactics and best practices in order to better respond or avoid this serious problem,” said Matthew Smith, interim superintendent of Des Moines Public schools. “Most of all, it makes sure schools do not feel alone when faced with a threat that can impact every aspect of our important work.
This legislation is endorsed by 6 national education organizations, including the National Associations of Elementary (NAESP) and Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Senators Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Mark Warner (VA) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The full text of the bill can be read here.