Middle and high school students in Massachusetts would learn about the history of genocide and human rights issues under a bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker this week.
The bill requires middle schools and high schools in the state to include instruction on the history of genocide. The legislation comes as incidences of hate and antisemitism are on the rise across the country, with several incidents reported in Massachusetts over the past year, according to supporters of the legislation.
Massachusetts has not required education on the Holocaust or other genocides as part of its classroom curriculum.
Lawmakers renewed the push for mandating education about the history of genocide earlier this year after a Duxbury high school football coach was fired following reports that the team used antisemitic language, including a mention of Auschwitz, in its on-field play calling.
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This bill would create a Genocide Education Trust Fund to support the development of teaching materials and to provide professional development training for educators.
The legislation would also require school districts to annually file a description of their lesson plan and programs to educate students about genocides with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, as many as 17 states require Holocaust education as part of their secondary school curriculums.