Massachusetts Legislature Passes Genocide Education Bill

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. Photo: Getty Images

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – The Massachusetts Legislature passed a new education bill on Wednesday that will enforce genocide education in schools.

The bill, called “An Act Concerning Genocide Education,” will require middle and high school students to learn about the history of genocide as well as promote the teaching of human rights issues. This comes as incidents of hate and anti-Semitism have become more common across the country, with several being reported in the state over the past year.

“While past crimes against humanity cannot be undone, we must learn from them,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “As a Jewish woman and daughter of a World War II veteran who liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure we educate our children on the many instances of genocide.”

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The bill would also establish a Genocide Education Trust Fund that would ensure the development of curricular materials. It would also help teachers educate their students by providing professional development training.

“As a former teacher, I recognize and value the importance of teaching about acts of genocide in an effort to stem bigotry and intolerance,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano. “By requiring that all middle and high schools teach about the history of genocide, and how hatred and prejudice can lead to violence, we're taking a necessary step in the pursuit of increased education about the atrocities of the past, and how to avoid them in the future.”

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The legislation requires each school district in the Commonwealth to file a description of their lesson plan and programs related to genocide education every year. Districts will file these descriptions with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The bill also establishes a competitive grant program to which schools and districts can apply and receive additional programming support. The act is moving onto Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for his approval.

WBZ's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) has more:

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