DMPS Hosts Discussion of New U.S. Cyber Security Bill

Des Moines Public Schools was fortunate to have attentive and knowledgeable staff when a cyber threat presented itself in early January of 2023. Systems were taken offline, and damage mitigated. The district only needed to close for two days before schools were ready to safely reopen to students. Now, DMPS is in a position to help other school districts try and avoid the same situation.

Interim Superintendent Matt Smith and U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn talked to the media today about a new, bipartisan, bicameral bill to improve the ability of school districts across the nation to prevent students, staff, and families against cyberattacks. The Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act is being co-led by Rep. Doris Matsui of California 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.

“Cyberattacks 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 Smith. “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.”

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 cyberattacks by enhancing coordination, including creating a cybersecurity incident registry.

“When I was working on the White House’s National Security Council, I witnessed firsthand how important it is to prioritize cybersecurity,” said Rep. Nunn. “With these crimes on the rise, it’s imperative that we provide our schools with the tools to keep students’ information secure.”

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.

Nunn Announces Cybersecurity Bill