The South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) respects the privacy of students, their families, our employees, and visitors. When you register with GSSM for any reason and through any website form, we may ask for your name, address, telephone number, and email address. Applicants to our programs may be asked for extensive information about their education, contact information, and health information. We use this information to understand applications for program participation and to manage the health and safety of students while in our care.
We will use your email address, mailing address, and personal information to provide you news and information about our projects, events, and news we believe will interest you.
To make a contribution online, we also ask for your credit card number and its expiration date. This information is stored securely with the credit card processor and is not retained in our records or on any of our servers or databases.
In general, GSSM's policies governing the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information follow the same rules that would apply to an in-person visit to our campus, and are governed by the same state and federal laws that cover such visits. In addition, GSSM complies with the Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The purpose of the statements on this page is to inform users of this site with regard to the collection and use of personally identifiable information. Nothing herein should be construed to, nor does it, create any new or different rights than those available under existing state and federal laws.
Definition of Personally Identifiable Information
For the purposes of this statement, "personally identifiable information" means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual who is the subject of the information. This includes information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers.
Disclosure of Directory Information
GSSM may disclose certain student information to third parties that FERPA defines as directory information. This will include name, city of residence, class year, dates of attendance, photographs, and participation in school activities and programs. Custodial parents and legal guardians may restrict such disclosure when they notify the school in writing.
Photographs of students participating in GSSM events may be published in publications, on our website, and on social media that we manage. During the registration process, custodial parents and guardians may request that photographs of their student not be published by the school. However, even after permission to publish has been withheld, it is possible that incidental images of students participating in programs and sporting events may be published by the school. If this happens, the school, when notified, will work with the parent or guardian to either remove the image or edit it so that their student does not appear. The school has no control over images of students taken by others and published in print or on sites that we do not manage.
Personally Identifiable Information Not Routinely Collected
Users are not required to provide personal information simply to visit the GSSM website or to access information. GSSM may request personally identifiable information in order to authenticate identities when requesting access to some types of information.
Personally Identifiable Information that May Be Subject to Public Disclosure
In the State of South Carolina, laws exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by a government agency. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public's right to access certain records in order to preserve the privacy of individuals. Such exemptions are authorized by both state and federal laws. Some information collected by GSSM may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless such an exemption in law exists. In the event that there is a conflict between this Privacy Statement and a state or federal law governing the disclosure of public records, the applicable state or federal law shall control.
The Family Privacy Protection Act of 2002 prohibits persons or private entities from using any personal information obtained from GSSM's website for commercial solicitation purposes. A person knowingly violating this prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to penalties specified in S.C. Code Ann. Section 30-2-50(D).
Use, Collection and Retention of Personal Identifiable Information
The Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of computers used to visit GSSM websites from off-campus Internet access sites are noted as part of the statistical analysis used to manage and improve GSSM's website. However, GSSM does not attempt to gain personally identifiable information on individual users or to associate individual users with IP such addresses. IP addresses obtained from computers connecting to GSSM's on-campus network are treated differently: they are associated with identifiable user information for the purposes of determining eligibility to connect to the school's networked resources, to access information resources, and to investigate violations of GSSM's Appropriate Use Policy.
For users who are not students and not employees, GSSM retains and uses personal information about site users only when they choose to subscribe to a GSSM service. GSSM collects, retains, and uses personal information only when it is lawful and is essential to administer and to provide services requested by a constituent. Generally, such constituent groups are students and their families, alumni, prospective students, and school supporters.
Use of Constituent E-mail Addresses
Email addresses obtained as a result of requests to the GSSM website will not be sold or given to any organization outside of GSSM for marketing purposes. The information collected is subject to the access and confidentiality provisions of the State's Freedom of Information Act and other applicable sections of the South Carolina Code of Laws and/or federal law. Email or other information requests sent to the GSSM website may be maintained in order to respond to the request, forward that request to the appropriate person, or provide the GSSM web designer with user feedback to assist in improving the site.
GSSM is committed to data security and the data quality of personally identifiable information that is either available from, or collected by, GSSM websites and has taken precautions to protect personally identifiable information from loss, misuse, or alteration. Any third parties responsible for this information are required to follow the same policies and guidelines as GSSM in protecting this information. Unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal law, rule, or regulation, individuals will be given the ability to access and correct personally identifiable information maintained by the GSSM website that may be in error.
Other non-GSSM websites may be linked through the GSSM website. Many of these sites may operate under different privacy standards. Visitors to those websites are advised to check the privacy statements of those sites and be cautious when providing personally identifiable information without a clear understanding of how the information will be used.
Sharing Information with Third Parties
GSSM will share personally identifiable information about its students and families with a limited number of selected third parties for the purposes of offering products and services often requested by GSSM families. Examples include photography and portrait services, online college counseling services, and class ring distributors.
Limiting Access to Personally Identifiable Information
GSSM takes steps to limit access to personally identifiable information to GSSM faculty and staff who require access in order to perform their assigned duties. GSSM instructs its staff of their responsibilities concerning the protection of personally identifiable information.
The GSSM Foundation is an important partner, authorized by GSSM to raise public awareness of our work and supporting the achievements of our students and alumni. Information about student enrollment status, demographics, family relationships, and contact information are shared with the Foundation to support these activities. Permissions given to the school to use photographs and other non-directory information in publications and announcements are also extended to the GSSM Foundation.
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