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Sharron Angle initiative addresses protecting student data

CARSON CITY — Potential GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Thursday announced that a petition drive is underway asking voters to protect personal student data now being collected as part of Nevada’s education reform efforts.

The Pupil Information Privacy Protection Initiative would put limits on the collection of personally identifiable student information in the state Constitution. The petition also would require the student or parents to agree to the release of any such data.

The initiative petition was filed in September but Angle said there was a lag to ensure the language in the measure was not challenged.

Angle, who is being urged by some supporters to run for the Senate seat now held by Harry Reid, said copies of the petition can be downloaded at her website, SharronAngle.com. She urged volunteers to circulate copies of the petition to qualify the proposal for the November 2016 ballot.

Angle said she is waiting to see the public response to a website called RunSharonAngle.com before deciding on whether to seek the Senate seat. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., is the leading GOP contender for the seat, with former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto the Democratic favorite. Reid is not seeking re-election.

The website is sponsored by Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, and Assemblyman Brent Jones, R-Las Vegas. Gustavson also attended the kickoff of the student privacy petition effort.

Angle won the GOP primary in the 2010 Senate race but lost to Reid in his re-election bid.

On the student privacy petition, Angle said parents across Nevada are concerned about the collection of data now underway nationwide as part of an effort to improve and measure student achievement. Nevada is collecting the data as well as part of its Common Core curriculum.

Gustavson said the issue is protecting the privacy of students. An effort to implement such protections in the 2015 legislative session were unsuccessful, he said.

Also supporting the effort is a coalition including Incline Village resident John Eppolito, who said federal protections of student data under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act have been weakened, requiring state residents to take action. The data can be shared without parental consent under the federal rules, he said.

The coalition has a Facebook page called Protect Nevada Children where the petition can be downloaded for circulation, Eppolito said.

Supporters would need to collect 55,234 signatures from registered voters by June 21 to qualify the measure for the ballot. It would have to be approved by voters twice, in 2016 and 2018, before it could take effect.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801

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