STATE HOUSE – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Katherine Kazarian and Sen.
Gayle L. Goldin to require school districts to teach students about
genocide and the Holocaust has been signed into law by Governor Raimondo
at a ceremonial bill signing held at the Jewish Alliance Conference Room
Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian
Sen. Gayle L. Goldin
The legislation (2016-H
requires each district to include in its curriculum a unit on the
Holocaust and genocide for every student by the time he or she graduates.
The subject could be taught in either middle school or high school, as the
local district deems appropriate. Additionally, the new law requires the
state Department of Education to provide Holocaust and genocide curriculum
materials to school districts.
«Although these are not pleasant topics to learn about in school, these
events must be studied by our children in order to prevent further similar
atrocities from happening in the future,» said Representative Kazarian
(D-Dist. 63, East Providence). «My family’s own history involving the
Armenian Genocide has shown me that these events in history should never
be forgotten and it is important that our children recognize and
understand how such terrible events can occur in society, and more
importantly, how to stop them from happening.»
Said Senator Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), «Given the hate and bigotry
that has become so common in public discourse today, it seems especially
important to educate students about the incredible damage that hate and
bigotry have caused. In order for future generations to fully grasp the
necessity of protecting the human rights of all people on the planet, they
need to understand the reality that there have been government-sanctioned
campaigns to annihilate races, classes and types of people in the
not-very-distant past. These shameful chapters in history are important
because they provide perspective on world events, now and in the future.»
Senator Goldin’s grandparents fled eastern Europe to Canada during the
pogroms, and those of her family members who were unable to escape died in
either the pogroms or the Holocaust.
In 2011, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted a law that emphasized
the need to make genocide curriculum materials available including, but
not limited to, the Holocaust of WWII, and the genocides in Armenia,
Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, and Darfur.
This new law makes the recommendation a requirement starting in the
2017-2018 school year.