DENVER, CO– The House today passed a bill to require that high school seniors complete a course that includes genocide and Holocaust studies in order to graduate.
HB20-1336, sponsored by Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Emily Sirota, would require that the State Board of Education adopt standards related to Holocaust and genocide studies. Specifically, it requires that by the 2023-24 school year, local district boards of education and charter schools incorporate a Holocaust and genocide studies component into an existing course that is required for graduation. The bill would also create, by July 2021, a publicly available resource bank that includes sample academic content, instruction programs, learning resource, professional developments, and case studies related to Holocaust and genocide studies. Both the standards and resource bank must be developed with input from experts. The bill passed 64-0.
“Ignoring the darkest, most harrowing chapters of our history for the sake of temporary comfort will only lead to history tragically repeating itself,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “Teaching our high school students about the horrors of the Holocaust and the genocides that have occurred across history and around the world will no doubt lead to a better informed, hopefully more compassionate and conscientious Coloradans down the road.”
“Education is the light that can drive out the darkness of mass atrocities before they ever happen,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “Teaching students about the Holocaust and other genocides in history is a tough and necessary conversation that we need to have with our young people. Understanding the banality of evil and how everyday discrimination can quickly lead to violent extermination is what will help us make good on the promise of ‘never again’.”