The School (in)Security Newsletter: Hackers Hawk Stolen LAUSD Files; Parkland HS Demolished; Swatter Sentenced

There’s an innate tension between school safety and students’ civil rights. The 74’s Mark Keierleber keeps you up to date on the news you need to know

This is our biweekly briefing on the latest school safety news, vetted by Mark Keierleber. Sign up below.

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Last week, I set out to write a quick news hit on the FCC’s new cybersecurity grants for schools and libraries — a pilot program that will pump $200 million toward next-gen firewalls and other tools.

But that’s when things got weird. 

I came upon a new listing on a notorious dark web forum — the Amazon for stolen data, if you will — that offered millions of files purportedly stolen from the Los Angeles Unified School District for a thousand bucks.

LAUSD officials said they’re investigating the anonymous threat actor’s claims and a threat intelligence executive told me the district must carry out a full incident response to verify if the files are real.

Or new. 

It isn’t déjà vu: America’s second-largest school district fell victim to a massive ransomware attack in 2022. Thousands of students’ mental health records and other sensitive files found their way to the dark web. It’s possible that the LAUSD data got a facelift of its own, with the same data repackaged to make a quick buck. 

Read more about the latest LAUSD incident — and about the FCC’s new effort to thwart similar attacks nationally — here. 

In the news

Today in Florida, workers are set to demolish the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building where a gunman killed 17 people in a 2018 rampage. | The Associated Press

Relatives of 17 children killed during the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, have sued state law enforcement officers who waited 77 minutes before confronting the gunman at Robb Elementary School. | The Texas Tribune

Special report: Through an unprecedented trove of dispatch call data for 852 California school addresses, reporters offer a rare look at “the vast presence of police in schools.” A third of calls “were about serious incidents that reasonably required a police presence.” | EdSource

New York lawmakers approved landmark rules that ban social media companies from using “addictive” algorithms to customize children’s feeds. Here’s a strong rundown on how the rules work. | Democrat & Chronicle

Eamonn Fitzmaurice / The 74 / iStock / U.S. Army Materiel Command

SWATted down: A Washington man has been sentenced to three years in prison for calling in hoax police reports in more than 20 states, including inciting false school shooting panic, leading to frantic lockdowns and massive police responses. | The News Tribune

First they came for the books. Next they came for the books about book bans. | The Washington Post

A new program in Illinois to help low-income families pay for the funeral costs of children killed by guns was designed to ease grief and financial burdens. After a year, just two families have been compensated. | The Trace

Prioritizing ‘profit over the wellbeing and safety of children’: Residential treatment companies that provide behavioral health services have put children at risk of sexual abuse and dangerous physical restraints, a new Senate committee report argues. | NBC News

First comes marriage, then comes homeroom: Missouri lawmakers failed to pass legislation that sought to prevent anyone under 18 years old from getting married, keeping in place the state’s minimum age of 16. | The Kansas City Star

A Tennessee school district where officials failed to prevent rampant racist bullying against a Black student will overhaul its anti-harassment procedures after reaching a settlement agreement with the Justice Department. Federal investigators found the student’s classmates passed around a drawing of a Ku Klux Klansmen, added him to a bigoted group chat and sold him to white peers in a mock “slave auction.” | The Washington Post

New York City school bathrooms could soon have “vape sensors” following a court settlement with tobacco company Juul that’ll direct $27 million to the city’s schools to combat youth vaping. | Chalkbeat

Research & advocacy

‘New Jim Code’: Federal officials have failed to deter the civil rights harms that artificial intelligence in schools poses to students of color, a new report argues. | The Center for Law and Social Policy

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DACA recipients are more likely than migrants without deportation safeguards to ask the police for help, suggesting the program increases engagement with police and reduces fear among crime victims. | Journal of Urban Economics

DACA recipients are more likely than migrants without deportation safeguards to ask the police for help, suggesting the program increases engagement with police and reduces fear among crime victims. | Journal of Urban Economics

ICYMI @The74

Emotional support

I promised you a new pup. I bring you a new pup. 

Sinead, editor Kathy Moore’s new emotional support companion, surveys her domain. 

For more school safety news, subscribe to Mark’s School (in)Security newsletter below.

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