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New York students to learn hateful history of swastikas and nooses under proposed law


State Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Island) (Mike Groll/AP)

ALBANY — Reading, writing and racism.

New York schoolkids could soon get special lessons on hate symbols like swastikas and nooses under a bill introduced Tuesday by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Nassau).

The proposed legislation would mandate public and private school students in sixth through 12th grade learn about “the meaning of the swastika as the emblem of Nazi Germany, as well as the noose as a symbol of racism and intimidation."

Kaminsky said an uptick in racist graffiti was the impetus behind the bill, noting the discovery of several swastikas drawn in Long Island park last week.

“Incidents of hatred and anti-Semitism have reared their ugly heads throughout our nation and most recently at home here in Nassau County,” he said. “It is imperative that we educate our children on the repugnant meanings behind the swastika and noose as symbols of bigotry and intolerance.”

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Under current law, schools in the Empire State are required to teach students about certain subject matters, including CPR, substance abuse and the Holocaust. The proposed legislation would direct the State Education Commissioner and Board of Regents to promulgate a curriculum and ensure it is implemented.

“Education is a critical component to our efforts to prevent hate crimes, and this important legislation will ensure that every New York middle and high school student will learn the history of violence associated with these symbols," said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.