Chapter 092
2016 -- S 2396 SUBSTITUTE A
Enacted 06/17/2016

A N   A C T

Introduced By: Senators Goldin, Miller, Raptakis, and Gallo
Date Introduced: February 11, 2016

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
     SECTION 1. The title of Chapter 16-93 of the General Laws entitled "Genocide
Education in Secondary Schools" [see Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of
Education Act] is hereby amended to read as follows:
Island Board of Education Act]
Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]
     SECTION 2. Sections 16-93-1, 16-93-2 and 16-93-3 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-
93 entitled "Genocide Education in Secondary Schools [See Title 16 Chapter 97 - The Rhode
Island Board of Education Act]" are hereby amended to read as follows:
     16-93-1. Legislative findings. -- The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:
      (1) On November 4, 1988, the United States government ratified the International
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ("Genocide
Convention") which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Upon
ratification, the United States government recognized that throughout all periods of history,
genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and was convinced that, in order to liberate
mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation was required.
      (2) The United States government recognizes that genocide still continues, today, in the
twenty- first (21st) century. The United States Congress passed House Con. Resolution 467,
"Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan" on July 22, 2004. On September 9, 2004, the United
States Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell, told the United States Senate Foreign Relations
Committee that "genocide has occurred and may still be occurring in Darfur." Additionally,
President George W. Bush affirmed the Secretary of State's finding on September 21, 2004, when
he addressed the United Nations General Assembly by saying: "At this hour, the world is
witnessing terrible suffering and horrible crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan, crimes my
government has concluded are genocide.'"
      (3) The United States Department of Education says "education is primarily a Sstate and
local responsibility in the United States. It is Sstates and communities, as well as public and
private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges and develop curricula ..."
      (4) The Sstate of Rhode Island also has previously demonstrated its concerns and
interests regarding raising awareness on subject the subjects of holocaust and genocide.
      (i) In 2000, the Rhode Island general assembly passed house bill no. 7397, "Ggenocide
and Hhuman Rrights Eeducation,", requiring the Rhode Island department of education to
"develop curricular material on genocide and human rights issues and guidelines for the teaching
of that material."
      (ii) In 2007, the Rhode Island general assembly passed house bill No. 5142, requiring the
state investment commission to divest its assets from targeted companies in Sudan.
     (iii) In 2011, the state of Rhode Island enacted an act entitled "Genocide Education in
Secondary Schools" (Chapters 45 and 70 of the Public Laws of 2011) which emphasized a need
to adhere to making genocide curriculum materials available including, but not limited to, the
Holocaust, Armenia, Cambodia, and Darfur.
     (iv) The general assembly has passed a number of resolutions condemning the Holocaust.
     (v) The general assembly, on the 100th commemoration of the Armenian mass killings,
declared it a genocide. (Resolution No. 198 passed by the house of representatives at its January
session A.D. 2015 and approved April 8, 2015, entitled "House Resolution Proclaiming April 24,
2015, as 'Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day' to Commemorate the Armenian Genocide of
1915 to 1923 and in Honor of Armenian-Americans" and Resolution No. 217 passed by the
senate at its January session A.D. 2015 and approved April 15, 2015, entitled "Senate Resolution
Proclaiming April 24, 2015, as 'Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day' to Commemorate the
Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923 and in Honor of Armenian-Americans".)
     (vi) The governor, legislators, and community leaders attended and participated at the
Holocaust memorial dedication in 2015 whereby a need was recognized for education on the
topic of holocaust and genocide in Rhode Island schools.
      (5) The establishment of free public education in the United States is intended to prepare
citizens for participation in American social, economic, and political activities.
      (6) The Sstate of Rhode Island has also previously demonstrated its concerns for civic
education, of which genocide education should be a component. In 2005, the general assembly
directed the board of regents for elementary and secondary education to develop and adopt a set
of grade level standards in civic education by August 31, 2007.
      (7) Given the importance of the issue of genocide to the political affairs of the United
States, as well as the responsibility of the state to educate its citizens, it is a fundamental
responsibility of the Sstate of Rhode Island to ensure that the critical subject of genocide is
included as part of the curriculum in all public schools.
      (8) It is the judgment of the Rhode Island general assembly to encourage that every the
board of education in the state shall include instruction on the subject subjects of holocaust and
genocide studies, where in an appropriate place in the curriculum, for all middle and high school
     16-93-2. Definitions. -- For the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have
the following meanings:
      (1) "Genocide," as defined by the Genocide Convention: "means" any of the following
acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious
group, such as: (i) Killing members of the group; (ii) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to
members of the group; (iii) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (iv) Imposing measures intended to
prevent births within the group; and/or; (v) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another
     (2) "Holocaust" means the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and
murder of approximately six million (6,000,000) Jews and five million (5,000,000) other
individuals by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
     16-93-3. Powers and duties. – The state shall adhere to the following procedures:
     (1) The department of education shall collect and disseminate to every school district,
private school, mayoral academy, and charter school, and make available on its website,
curriculum materials and such other materials as may assist local and regional school committees,
and governing bodies of any private school, mayoral academy, or charter school, in developing
instructional programs pursuant to this section materials on holocaust and genocide awareness
and education. The curriculum materials may include information on relevant genocides,
including the Holocaust, Armenia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, and Darfur.
     (2) Every school district shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on holocaust
and genocide, utilizing, but not being limited to, the materials collected and disseminated by the
department of education, commencing with the 2017-2018 school year. Nothing herein shall
require school districts to require holocaust and genocide instruction in every year of middle
school and high school, but that holocaust and genocide education and instruction shall be
utilized during appropriate times in the middle school and/or high school curricula, as determined
by the local authority. All students should have received instruction on genocide and holocaust
awareness materials by the time they have graduated from high school.
     SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.
LC004684/SUB A