The state of New Hampshire is facing a conflict between two laws impacting education in the state’s schools. In 2020, a law was passed requiring the instruction of the Holocaust and other genocides in grades 8 through 12. However, in 2021, a law was passed banning the teaching of “divisive concepts” such as implicit bias and systemic racism. These two laws are now colliding, causing concerns among teachers about what can be taught when discussing the Holocaust.
Many teachers are fearful of discussing certain topics due to the state’s divisive concepts law, as it restricts instruction on topics that might make students feel inferior or superior based on race, gender, ethnicity, or another attribute. Teachers are avoiding words like “racism” and avoiding mentioning current events or hot-button topics like implicit bias. However, experts argue that it is impossible to truly learn from the past atrocities of the Holocaust without discussing these subjects.
Education on the Holocaust and other genocides is crucial in understanding how one group of people could participate in the mass murder of another. Examining the use of propaganda and the portrayal of certain groups as inferior is essential in teaching about the Holocaust. The Holocaust education law in New Hampshire mandates that students learn about the Holocaust and other genocides and understand the causes of political repression, intolerance, bigotry, antisemitism, and discrimination that lead to genocide and mass violence.
Antisemitic incidents and propaganda are on the rise nationally and regionally, further highlighting the importance of comprehensive education on the Holocaust. Many other states have passed similar laws mandating Holocaust education, emphasizing the need to understand history and prevent the repetition of such atrocities.
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