Bill bringing more Holocaust education to Arizona classrooms signed into law

Aug 20, 2021, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:31 pm
(Twitter photo/@dougducey)...
(Twitter photo/@dougducey)
(Twitter photo/@dougducey)

PHOENIX — A bill that requires students in Arizona schools to be taught about the Holocaust and other genocides at least twice between 7th and 12th grades was signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday.

“Arizona has long been a leader on civics education, but it’s clear we need to extend our curriculum to more closely cover the horrors of the Holocaust,” Ducey said in a press release.

A Pew Research Center study conducted in 2019 found that while more than half of U.S. teens knew what the Holocaust was and when it took place, only 38% were aware approximately six million Jews died in the Holocaust and one-third knew how Hitler came to power.

Adults had similar results, with most (69%) knowing when the Holocaust took place but only 45% being aware of the number of Jews who died or how Hitler came to power.

Meanwhile, there have already been 18 antisemitism incidents in Arizona this year after 23 in 2020, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Nationwide, there were 2,000 incidents of antisemitism around the country last year.

“These antisemitic acts are disgraceful and unacceptable, and we’re going to do everything we can to ensure Arizonans of the Jewish faith are treated with respect, dignity and humanity,” Ducey said during the signing ceremony.

Holocaust survivors, members of Arizona’s Jewish community, Holocaust education advocates and students as well as a bipartisan group of state legislators joined the Republican governor for the signing of the bill.

Ducey said House Bill 2241 is a step in the right direction but the work is far from over.

“Antisemitism and other forms of hate are real, and we must do more to make sure this never, ever happens again,” Ducey said in the release.

Democratic Rep. Alma Hernandez, who is an active member of the Jewish community and sponsored the bill, called the signing a big win not only for Arizona’s Jewish community but for the future of the state.

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Bill bringing more Holocaust education to Arizona classrooms signed into law