State Sen. Kaminsky pushes to make learning about symbols of hate required in NY schools

News 12 Staff

July 23, 2020

Originally published in News 12 Long Island on July 22, 2020.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky is pushing to make the history of symbols of hate required learning for middle and high school students.

He wants to pass a law mandating that students in grades six through 12 are taught how symbols like the swastika and noose are used to incite fear and hatred.

The state senator  from Long Beach says the law would ensure that students are educated about the dangers of racism and anti-Semitism.

"We've seen a rash, especially in our state, of anti-Semitic and racist incidents over the last few years,” he says. "We know that no child is born with hate in their heart. No child's born a bigot – and we want to make sure when children leave Long Island schools and schools in our state, they know what intolerance is and they know the history behind it."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents rose 26% in New York last year. The ADL also says that last year had the most anti-Semitic incidents since they started keeping records more than 40 years ago.

The state senator’s bill has the support of John Buglione, a history and sociology teacher at Baldwin High School.

"I think it's important for them to learn that these symbols have come to you from these really traumatic experiences in our history," he says.

The bill remains pending in the state Assembly.