General Assembly approves bill requiring genocide education at high schools
HARTFORD — Connecticut high schools will be required to teach the history of the Holocaust and other genocides, the General Assembly has decided.
By a unanimous vote, the House Monday approved the bill to codify this curriculum into state law; previously this subject was optional to teach in Connecticut. The bill, approved earlier by the state Senate, now goes to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to be signed into law.
“As we go through life, mankind does have a dark side,” said state Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, R-Newtown, “and history is really the only way to maintain perspective to avoid mistakes and to prevent atrocities from happening.”
The bill was proposed by state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, after swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti appeared in her hometown and several nearby communities last year.
“We are thrilled with the passage of today’s legislation. As we have seen in recent surveys, Holocaust and genocide education is needed in our schools, and this legislation will create countless teachable moments regarding humanity, compassion and being up standers for current and future students.” said Michael Bloom, director of the Jewish Federation Of Greater New Haven.
Statewide, twice as many anti-Semitic incidents were reported in late 2017 as in the same period the year before, according to the state chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.
Middlebrook School in Wilton saw three similar incidents last fall, when swastikas were found twice in the boys’ bathroom and a sixth-grader found a note with an anti-Semitic epithet in her locker.
Since 2017, swastikas have been found across Ridgefield, from the town’s high school and Ballard Park to the Aldrich Museum and Masonic Lodge. In Redding, a swastika was found carved into a tree in Topstone Park in January.
“The Holocaust survivors and children of survivors remind us that we are losing the eyewitnesses to the atrocities that took place nearly 80 years ago,” Boucher said in March. “We cannot let the knowledge of this sad chapter in world history disappear with them.”
She led unanimous passage of the bill in the Senate two weeks ago.