State senators will hear testimony Monday on a bill that would prohibit discrimination in New Hampshire's public schools.
The bill comes at the recommendation of the Governor's Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which says public schools are one of the few places in New Hampshire only protected by federal prohibitions against discrimination based on age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, religion or national origin.
Prohibiting these forms of discrimination on a state level would mean the N.H. Attorney General or a student who alleges discrimination could bring a case against a school or school district in local courts, as opposed to relying on federal officials to investigate a claim.
New Hampshire is currently the only state in New England without state-level anti-discrimination protections in public schools.
The bill's sponsor, Democrat Tom Sherman, says he hopes the new law could act as a deterrent.
“Sometimes just by having these protections, you get rid of half of these cases because people understand that now there's going to be accountability,” he says.