Holocaust Remembrance Day and required Holocaust and genocide curriculums could be brought to PA classrooms

26 January 2024- Rep. Kristin Marcell (R-Bucks) today formally introduced legislation to require schools that offer lessons on the Holocaust and genocide to post their curriculum online so parents can learn what their children are being taught.

Marcell introduced House Bill 1986 in conjunction with International Holocaust Remembrance Day when the Pennsylvania Capitol will be lit in yellow.

3GPhilly, a group for the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, requested the Capitol to be lit up as part of an effort to coordinate numerous buildings across Pennsylvania being lit in yellow for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday, Jan. 27.

“As the Capitol is lit up for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are reminded of the importance of Holocaust education across the Commonwealth. Teaching about the Holocaust is not just about learning history; it is about safeguarding democratic values and promoting a more just and tolerant society,” Marcell said. 

“It’s the job of parents and those of us in the Legislature to make sure those lessons are being taught without prejudice and propaganda,” Marcell said. “In Pennsylvania, there is currently no standardized, simple and user-friendly way for parents to review the curriculum to see how the Holocaust is taught to their children.”

Marcell’s legislation will require any school entity offering this instruction to make the curriculum available on its website. Similarly, the Department of Education will be required to post on its website the curriculum guidelines provided to school entities under this bill.

Marcell’s bill is part of a package of bills to counter antisemitism, including: 

• Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) has sponsored legislation to require institutions of higher education receiving state taxpayer support to recognize antisemitism and calls for the genocide of the Jewish people as bullying, harassment and intimidation as part of the institution’s code of conduct.

• Rep. Joe Hogan (R-Bucks) introduced a resolution declaring Nov. 9, 2024, as Antisemitism Awareness and Education Day in Pennsylvania.