New Delaware Law Requiring Holocaust Education Comes Into Effect for Upcoming School Year
A new law requiring the teaching of the Holocaust in Delaware schools will come into effect for the 2021-22 academic year.
The Delaware State News reported that, according to the law, school districts and charters must implement a curriculum on the Holocaust and the issue of genocide in general for the sixth through 12th grades.
The driving force behind the bill was State Representative Debra Heffernan, whose parents escaped Nazi Germany.
“It really did change how I understood the scariness of how the Holocaust could happen to others in present time if we’re not careful,” she was quoted as saying.
Other people, however, “didn’t find out about [the Holocaust] until they maybe learned about it in high school,” she added. “They didn’t know and grow up understanding the horrors and how careful we had to be and how it’s everyone’s job to stand up for others.”
Heffernan asserted, “The only way to make sure that something like this never happens again — and to understand all of the times this has happened ever since the Holocaust in areas around the world — is for kids to be aware and to understand.”
The law, which was the culmination of years of campaigning by various communities, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the state, was passed by a unanimous vote in both houses of the legislature, and was signed into law last month.
Helping to formulate and implement the curriculum will be the Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Committee.
The committee’s chair, Steve Gonzer, said, “Today, we continue to grapple with challenges that have plagued society for ages: antisemitism, xenophobia, genocide, an ongoing refugee crisis, and racial bias.”
The new law, he noted, would “aid in the development of students’ respect for cultural diversity, prepare students to learn about other genocides in history, and prepare students to confront the immorality of racism, prejudice, and intolerance.”
“We must teach future generations the true facts of history and allay the voices of those who strive to deny the truth,” Gonzer added.