Essay Contest Winner Brian Halladay on Privacy

Brian HalladayAlpine School District Board member Brian Halladay was one of 3 winners of our essay contest. Here is his essay:

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Imagine for a moment that you and your spouse recently returned from date night to find that your home had been robbed.

Among other things, two items were stolen: your journals and your social security numbers. They were then given to a group of well renowned psychologists, behavioral scientists, then the military. After being analyzed and copied, they were then given back to you.

A week after the items were returned, the police knock on your door. They found the identity of the robber….your babysitter. The very person you trusted to watch your children.

Wouldn’t you consider this a violation of privacy? Wouldn’t the theft of your journal be considered a crime? Yet, this is eerily similar to what our State School Board is allowing to happen in our schools. We have trusted them to protect our children while in school, and they have breached that trust.

Almost every student in the state of Utah will be taking the SAGE test in the next few months.

This test is designed by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), one of the world’s largest social and behavioral research centers. The data is being collected by AIR, with no guarantee of privacy then downloaded on the servers at the Utah State Office of Education.

To assume that our children’s data will be protected, when there is no guarantee of protection in their contract is like assuming that the NSA isn’t collecting your phone calls. It’s just not true.

We can’t allow this violation of our children’s private data. It’s up to us to protect the privacy of our children. As a parent, there is only one way to prevent this. Opt out of the SAGE test. Tell your principal and teacher this week. Write the governor and state school board. We can make a difference. It’s time.

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