March 28, 1995
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to instruction on subjects of human rights violations, genocide, slavery, the Holocaust, and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature finds, recognizes and affirms the importance to pupils of learning to appreciate the sanctity of life and the dignity of the individual. Pupils must develop a respect for each person as a unique individual, and understand the importance of a universal concern for ethics and human rights. Therefore, the legislature recognizes the importance of teaching our youth ethical and moral behavior specifically relating to human rights violations, genocide issues, slavery, the Holocaust, as well as the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850.
S 2. Subdivisions 1 and 3 of section 801 of the education law, as amended by chapter 390 of the laws of 1994, are amended to read as follows:
1. In order to promote a spirit of patriotic and civic service and obligation and to foster in the children of the state moral and intellectual qualities which are essential in preparing to meet the obligations of citizenship in peace or in war, the regents of the University of the State of New York shall prescribe courses of instruction in patriotism, citizenship, and human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, [and] the Holocaust, and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850, to be maintained and followed in all the schools of the state. The boards of education and trustees of the several cities and school districts of the state shall require instruction to be given in such courses, by the teachers employed in the schools therein. All pupils attending such schools, over the age of eight years, shall attend upon such instruction.
Similar courses of instruction shall be prescribed and maintained in private schools in the state, and all pupils in such schools over eight years of age shall attend upon such courses. If such courses are not so established and maintained in private school, attendance upon instruction in such school shall not be deemed substantially equivalent to instruction given to pupils of like age in public schools of the city or district in which such pupils reside.
3. The regents shall determine the subjects to be included in such courses of instruction in patriotism, citizenship, and human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, [and] the Holocaust, and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850, and in the history, meaning, significance and effect of the provisions of the constitution of the United States, the amendments thereto, the declaration of independence, the constitution of the state of New York and the amendments thereto, and the period of instruction in each of the grades in such subjects. They shall adopt rules providing for attendance upon such instruction and for such other matters as are required for carrying into effect the objects and purposes of this section. The commissioner shall be responsible for the enforcement of such section and shall cause to be inspected and supervise the instruction to be given in such subjects. The commissioner may, in his discretion, cause all or a portion of the public school money to be apportioned to a district or city to be withheld for failure of the school authorities of such district or city to provide instruction in such courses and to compel attendance upon such instruction, as herein prescribed and for a non-compliance with the rules of the regents adopted as herein provided
S. 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
* EXPLNATION -- Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted.