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November 9, 2022

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Florida Recognizes Holocaust Education Week

Tallahassee, Fla., November 9, 2022 – Today, at the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Department of Education recognizes Holocaust Education Week, observed in recognition of the anniversary of Kristallnacht — widely acknowledged as an event that led to the Holocaust. Holocaust Education Week is an opportunity for students to learn the history of the Holocaust and antisemitism, as well as the consequences that followed.

“Every year, there are fewer Holocaust survivors and brave World War Two veterans who can tell us firsthand stories about the horrors of the Holocaust,” said Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “Holocaust education is required in Florida’s schools because it is important for the next generation of students to learn about how the evils of antisemitism caused a widespread genocide so that we ensure it will never happen again.”

“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, my family’s story is an example of the principles of remembrance, hope, and perseverance that Florida students learn during their Holocaust lessons,” said Mike Igel, Chairman of the Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education. “As we recognize Holocaust Education Week, I am proud of Florida’s continued leadership in using Holocaust education to teach future generations the value of taking action to improve the world and acting as Upstanders, no matter the circumstances. Amidst an alarming spike in antisemitism, these lessons belong in every classroom in Florida. I am heartened to know that our state’s leadership is taking bold action to make that a reality.”

Background on Holocaust Education Week

Section 1003.42(2)(g)1., Florida Statutes requires Florida’s public K-12 schools to faithfully teach the history of the Holocaust. In 2020, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 1213 into law, revising the requirement to teach Holocaust education to include: instruction concerning antisemitism; requiring school districts to report on Holocaust education instruction annually; requiring the Florida Department of Education to prepare and offer Holocaust education standards and curriculum; and designating the second week in November as Holocaust Education Week.

Governor Ron DeSantis has initiated the following to combat antisemitism:

  • Signed HB 741 into law, which prohibits discrimination, based on religion, in Florida's K-20 public education system and requires public K-20 educational institutions to treat discrimination motivated by antisemitism in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.
  • Championed $4 million for additional security to ensure children at Florida’s Jewish Day Schools can learn and thrive in a safe environment.
  • Championed more than $5 million in funding for The Florida Holocaust Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, the Commissioner of Education’s Task Force on Holocaust Education, the Panhandle Holocaust Education and Teacher Training Center, and the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator.
  • Rejected the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and removed all state investments in Ben and Jerry’s for their decision to boycott Israel.

In July 2021 the State Board of Education approved the nation's most comprehensive Holocaust education standards that were created by Florida educators and experts.These standards provide students with a deep understanding of antisemitism, while helping reduce antisemitism in future generations.

To read Governor DeSantis’ proclamation on Holocaust Education Week, please visit: https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5673/urlt/HolocaustEdWeekFlProc2022.pdf (PDF).

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