North Dakota is first U.S. state to require cybersecurity instruction in K-12 schools

August 15, 2023

Once fully implemented, North Dakota’s HB 1398 will have K-12 schools across the state and at all grade levels providing instruction in computer science and cybersecurity. The new law, signed by Gov. Doug Burgum in March 2023, makes North Dakota the first state in the nation to require cybersecurity education. By exposing students to this subject area throughout their K-12 careers, the state hopes to help young people:

  • learn from an early age how to be safe online and a good digital citizen;
  • gain the digital skills and knowledge needed to thrive in many sectors of the current and future workforce; and
  • position graduates to take advantage of growing opportunities in fields related to cybersecurity and information technology.

By July 2024, elementary and middle schools must show how they will integrate academic standards on computer science and cybersecurity into coursework. This requirement also applies to high schools, which must provide students with the opportunity to take a stand-alone class in at least one of these subject areas. To graduate, students will need to have taken a stand-alone course or completed the school’s integration plan for cybersecurity and computer science education.

The new law both reflects and furthers the work of North Dakota’s PK-20W Initiative — a statewide, whole-of-government approach to computer science and cybersecurity education.