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New Oregon Law Will Require Schools To Teach The Holocaust

(JTA) — Oregon public school students will be required to learn about the Holocaust and other genocides under a bill signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown.

The measure, which Brown signed Monday, was in response to spikes in anti-Semitic incidents across the country, CNN reported Tuesday.

Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, schools must provide instruction to “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.” Schools must also encourage cultural diversity and emphasize the importance of protecting international human rights, according to the bill.

The law was introduced by 14-year old Claire Sarnowski from suburban Lake Oswego. She came up with the idea through her friendship with 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener, who died last year after he was struck by a car.

The two met four years ago when Sarnowski attended one of Wiener’s talks about surviving the concentration camps.

Sarnowski told lawmakers earlier this year that Holocaust education should be required in all schools to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. “Learning about genocide teaches students the ramifications that come with prejudice of any kind in society,” she said.

Eleven other states require Holocaust education in schools, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Washington state’s governor signed a law in April that only “strongly encourages” teaching the Holocaust.

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