The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Genocide Education Act by a vote of 157-2. The bill will require public schools to teach the history of genocides and create a fund to help support the new curriculum. When signed into law, Massachusetts will become the 20th state to have adopted mandatory Holocaust and genocide education.
This bill would require each school district to file lesson plans and program descriptions related to genocide education every year with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The bill’s Genocide Education Trust Fund will help schools and districts develop curriculum and host training or professional development courses for educators.
This legislation demonstrates the legislature’s commitment to providing schools across the Commonwealth with access to resources to implement genocide education programs. It provides the resources students need to recognize and stand up to injustice before it takes root and to recognize and fight hate in their communities.
“Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of human rights issues, and today, with the passage of this bill, we can do it again. We can arm our students with the knowledge they will need to recognize the warning signs and feel empowered to prevent genocides in the future,” said Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin). “Making genocide education a mandatory topic for teaching in our schools is a reaffirmation of the commitment of free peoples from all nations to never again permit the occurrence of another genocide, and to deter indifference to crimes against humanity and human suffering wherever they occur.”
State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin) first filed a genocide education bill in 2013, which called for genocide to be included in social sciences and history frameworks. It was successful in changing frameworks and it lead to the inclusion of genocide education in social science and history frameworks. Unfortunately, over the past few years with memories of prior atrocities fading, there has a rising tide of hatred and anti-Semitic incidents requiring a legislative solution.
A recent survey found 22 percent of American millennials have never heard of the Holocaust and 66 percent of youth 18-34 didn't recognize the word Auschwitz. In Massachusetts, 35 percent of young adults didn't know what Auschwitz was and half didn't know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
The bill, which had over 100 cosponsors, was supported by ADL New England, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts - ANC of EM, Facing History and Ourselves, the Committee for Holodomor Genocide Awareness (https://ukrainegenocide.com), the Genocide Education Project, and over 60 coalition members.
You can find a link to Rep. Roy’s floor remarks at: https://youtu.be/fOQLJ5NiDz8
The text of the Legislation can be found -> https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S2557
|Rep. Roy’s floor remarks|