Schools 'Strongly Encouraged' to Teach the Holocaust in Washington State
By Tom James
Schools in Washington will be ‘strongly encouraged’ to teach students about the Holocaust under a bill signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee Friday, with advocates pointing to a spike in hate crimes as underlining the need for such a curriculum.
The bill won’t require schools to teach the material, but will add it as an encouraged curriculum item for middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools. The state schools superintendent is charged with developing guidelines for teaching the material, and also with creating trainings for teachers.
Hate crimes across the United States spiked 17 percent in 2017 — a rise for the third straight year — with a 37 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, according to an FBI report released in 2018. A little more than a month after the report was released, a gunman killed 11 in a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Inslee signed the bill Friday morning; it earlier passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
Mercer Island Democratic Rep. Tana Senn watched the signing.
“I’m a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, so this is really meaningful,” Senn said.