A new bill proposes to explore the status of Holocaust education in Vermont’s K-12 schools.

The bill, S.189, which has tripartisan support in the state Senate, was sponsored by Sen. Joshua Terenzini, R-Rutland. It aims to require the Agency of Education to report to lawmakers on the status of Holocaust education in the state’s public schools.

“As we raise up the next generation, it’s important that we learn from critical mistakes of the past,” said Terenzini.

He said he hopes the bill will move the state in the direction of establishing standards for Holocaust education in Vermont schools.

recently was introduced in the House.

Terenzini said the legislation could be seen as complementary to S.17, a bill he co-sponsored last year that would require high school students to pass a civics course in order to graduate.

“Wrapping a civility and civics class into a world history class with the Holocaust would make a lot of sense to me because, civics, democracy, tolerance and acceptance, those are all key components to a good history class, in my opinion,” he said.

He noted the bill is not pro-Israel nor anti-Palestine.

“This is totally to do with the fact that we want to teach our kids the true history of the Holocaust and ensure it doesn’t happen again … and teach tolerance and acceptance and respect of all beliefs, all world religions,” he said.

Terenzini credited Maya Sobel, a 2020 Rutland High School graduate and sophomore at the University of Vermont, as the impetus for S.189.

Sobel met with Terenzini and other members of Rutland’s legislative delegation last summer to advocate for a more comprehensive teaching of the Holocaust in schools.

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