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Snyder signs legislation requiring schools to teach students about genocide

Jun 14, 2016

The social studies curriculum at Michigan public schools must teach students about genocide, including the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide, as a result of legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The legislation amends the state school code to recommend a combined six hours of instruction regarding genocide between eighth and 12th grades. 

"Our next generation of leaders needs to have the wherewithal to recognize and help prevent widespread harm to their fellow men and women," Snyder said in a statement. "Teaching the students of Michigan about genocide is important because we should remember and learn about these terrible events in our past while continuing to work toward creating a more tolerant society."

Snyder noted, however, that his signature did not speak more broadly to the role he believes state government should play in influencing local schools. 

"There is a delicate balance we need to be mindful of when we consider requiring that certain subjects be included in our statewide education system," that statement said. "The recommendations of local school boards, teachers, other professional educators and parents need to be considered when developing a curriculum. My signing of HB 4493 should in no way signal any indication that elected state officials are the best guiding voice on what specific material should be taught in the classroom."

The bill was one of 11 Snyder signed on Tuesday. The state legislature broke for its summer recess after Tuesday's session.