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Westport Rep. Lavielle To Champion Student Privacy Protection Bill

State Rep. Gail Lavielle
State Rep. Gail Lavielle Photo Credit: Contributed photo

WESTPORT, Conn. -- State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), ranking member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, said Monday that she has made the passage of a bill establishing strong protections for the privacy of student data one of her priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Lavielle made the statement during an informational forum on student data privacy held in Hartford by the Connecticut Education Association and titled “The Student Data Minefield."

A staunch advocate of protecting students’ personal information, Lavielle introduced a concept bill on the subject (HB 5991) during the 2015 session.

It led to a committee bill (HB 7017) that drew the unanimous vote of the Education Committee’s membership. In the chaotic last days of the 2015 session, however, the bill, which had broad bipartisan support, was not called for a vote in the House.

“With public schools’ fast-growing use of technology and third-party providers to collect and analyze student data, parents from all over the state are increasingly worried about how their children are being tracked in school,” said Lavielle. “They want to make sure that personally identifiable information about their children is not being obtained without their knowledge or improperly used by third parties."

"More than half the other states have passed legislation that closes the gaps left by federal law, and Connecticut needs to catch up,” Lavielle continued. “My hope is that we can build on the bill we drafted last year to craft much broader and stronger legislation. Last year’s bill focused principally on restricting how third-party providers could use student data. I think we also need, for example, to include specific language requiring schools to inform parents and students about what data is being collected and how it will be used, to allow them to view the data and correct it if necessary, and to obtain parental consent for the collection and use of students’ personal data.

Lavielle represents Norwalk, Westport and Wilton. She is also a member of the Appropriations and Transportation Committees.

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