Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Senator Joe Addabbo Co-sponsors Bill to Require Hate Crimes Curriculum in All New York State Schools

Responding to last month’s gang-related murder in his district of a young man by five teens now charged with manslaughter, who also are being investigated by the NYPD for hate crimes, NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.(D-Queens), a member of the Senate’s Education Committee, is co-sponsoring a bill (S.269), which would raise awareness about hate crimes through curriculum in the schools. Addabbo supported this bill in the Education Committee and the bill has been sent to the full Senate for a vote.  
The Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating last month’s murder as to whether the suspects shouted anti-gay slurs at the victim and whether he was chased and bludgeoned to death on a Woodhaven street because he was perceived to be gay.  
The proposed new law requires a course of instruction in the awareness of hate crimes in our schools, so that every child in New York State will become educated on the commission of hate crimes. Hate crimes mean offenses that are committed based upon the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of the victim. The instruction will include examples of symbols and objects associated with hate crimes and the events and historical significance surrounding such symbols and objects. Such a course will also focus on the moral aspects and legal implications of such offenses and promote attitudes of tolerance and acceptance.
The law requires the board of education, trustees, principal or other person in charge of every public, private and parochial school in New York State to arrange for giving such course of instruction in every school under its/his or her control to every pupil for a period of not less than 45 minutes in each month during which such school is in session. The law will take effect on the first of September following the date on which it becomes a law.  
Explains Addabbo, “This bill offers a valuable course to increase an understanding of the seriousness of hate crimes among all students in New York State.  It is important that our schools teach core values of tolerance, acceptance and knowledge to all children in order to prevent hate crimes.” He believes that students should be taught about the vile nature of hate crimes and that such instruction will directly combat negative language and stereotypes that are prevalent in today’s society. Addabbo is hopeful that this instruction will educate our youth about the implications and dire consequences of hate crimes, and will provide them with a better understanding of the differences in each person.