Signed into law by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Monday, a new bill in the state will require public schools to teach about the immorality of mass genocides, such as the Holocaust, per The Oregonian.
The bill was introduced by Claire Sarnowski, a 14-year-old, after she was inspired by Holocaust survivor Alter Weiner. The two formed a friendship after Weiner told his story of surviving the Holocaust during a lecture. Weiner passed away last year after being hit by a car.
Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, schools must “prepare students to confront the immorality of the Holocaust, genocide, and other acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events.”
“Today more than ever, we need the learning opportunities that a bill like this will bring to our schools,” Brown told The Oregonian.
With the addition of the bill, schools will now have to encourage cultural diversity, and establish the importance of international human rights and the protection of those rights. The bill is an effort to combat the growing sense of anti-Semitism and cultural and religious indifference in the United States, which often leads to violence.
Between 2017 and 2018, the amount of anti-Semitic assaults tripled, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In K-12 schools, reports of anti-Semitic incidents have quadrupled from 2015 to 2017.
“Learning about genocide teaches students the ramifications that come with prejudice of any kind in society,” Sarnowski told The Oregonian.
Other than Oregon, several states require in-depth teaching of the Holocaust, including Kentucky, Illinois, Connecticut, Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In April, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law that strongly urges schools to teach about the genocide, but doesn’t require it.