Sen. Somers Proposes Bill to Protect Students from Discrimination Based on Ethnicity

March 8, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – State Senator and Vice-Chair of the Education Committee, Heather Somers (R-Groton), has proposed legislation that would protect student data and protect students from discrimination based on ethnicity. The bill would prohibit the collection of disaggregated student data on specific ethnic subgroups unless such student data is required by federal law or collected uniformly across the entire population of students.

“I am happy to have worked with my fellow members of the Education Committee to draft and propose this legislation,” said Sen. Somers, Vice-Chair of the Education Committee. “No student should ever feel singled out when they go to school and take a test or fill out paperwork. In other states students have been asked to identify specific ethnic information regarding their Asian-Pacific heritage, and this is not being done for any other ethnic group. We must take steps to protect our students and make them feel comfortable. We should be looking for ways in which to make our schools and communities more inclusive, this bill takes steps to do that.”

Support for Senate Bill 359, An Act Prohibiting the Disaggregation of Student Data by Ethnic Subgroups in the Public School Information System, started as a grassroots movement when Asian-Pacific students from neighboring states were asked to identify their specific sub-group before taking an exam. This practice was only used for students of Asian heritage and not for any other ethnicity. After hearing about this discriminatory practice Sen. Somers, and fellow Education Committee member Sen. George Logan met with the Asian-Pacific community to hear their concerns and push for this legislation.