New bill would require Holocaust education in Oregon schools

SALEM, Ore. — A new bill is being considered to require Oregon schools to teach students about the Holocaust and other acts of genocide.

Senate Bill 664 aims to “Enable students to evaluate the morality of the Holocaust, genocide and similar acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events” and to “preserve the memories of survivors of genocide and provide opportunities for students to discuss and honor survivors’ cultural legacies.”

Chabad Jewish Center of Southern Oregon in Ashland said the bill is a step in the right direction and will help reduce hate crimes.

“In a society, we are as a collective whole responsible for each other,” said Rabbi Avi Zwiebel, Director of Chabad Jewish Center. “These lessons are not just exclusive to the Holocaust… this is about any kind of hate or bigotry,” he said.

The bill also directs the state department of education to give technical assistance to help school districts teach the curriculum.

A work session is scheduled for next week in the Senate committee on education.

If passed, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

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