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Bill to require teaching of Holocaust passes committee

In News, State by OC Monitor StaffLeave a Comment

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Public middle and high schools in Kentucky would teach students about the Holocaust under a bill approved yesterday by a House committee.

Kentucky passed legislation in 2008 that required the state to develop a Holocaust curriculum for schools but did not mandate that it be taught. House Bill 128, sponsored by House Education Committee Chair John Carney, R-Campbellsville, and Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, would require instruction on the Holocaust and other acts of genocide that have been recognized by an international court of law. The House Education Committee gave its approval to the legislation today.

Several lawmakers said during today’s meeting that it is important that no one deny, nor forget, the mass murder of an estimated 6 million Jewish people during the Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s. The genocide and mass atrocities, also called the Shoah, was orchestrated by the German Nazi regime led by Adolph Hitler.

“In my lifetime I’ve been lucky to know three Holocaust survivors” said HB 128 co-sponsor Rep. Mark Hart, R-Falmouth. He said the bill is necessary “so we, as a society and as human race, don’t repeat what has happened in the past. If we don’t teach it, it could be repeated.”

Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, thanked the sponsors of the bill for what he called “a teachable moment for all of us here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Several eighth grade students from Louisville’s parochial St. Francis of Assisi School spoke about their instruction on the Holocaust and how it has improved their lives. They were joined by Fred Gross, a Holocaust survivor and educator who has taught hundreds of students over the decades.

“I’ve spoken to school children for the past 25 years, invited by teachers who took it upon themselves to teach the Holocaust,” said Gross. Letters he has received from students tell of lives changed, he said, including the life of a student from St. Francis of Assisi School.

“Since you’ve begun talking to my class, all of your wisdom has already helped me in my day to day life. I know I will carry these teachings with me for the rest of my life,” the letter read.

HB 128 now goes to the full House for consideration.

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