Michigan Governor Signs Bill on Teaching Armenian Genocide


Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan students will now learn more about genocides such as the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide in social studies classes under legislation signed on June 14 by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Our next generation of leaders needs to have the wherewithal to recognize and help prevent widespread harm to their fellow men and women,” Snyder said. “Teaching the students of Michigan about genocide is important because we should remember and learn about these terrible events in our past while continuing to work toward creating a more tolerant society.”

House Bill 4493, sponsored by state Rep. Klint Kesto, requires that all social studies curriculum for grades 8-12 in school districts and public school academies include instruction on genocide. This includes, but is not limited to, the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. It is now Public Act 170 of 2016.

In his signing letter, Snyder also stressed: “There is a delicate balance we need to be mindful of when we consider requiring that certain subjects be included in our statewide education system. The recommendations of local school boards, teachers, other professional educators and parents need to be considered when developing a curriculum. My signing of HB 4493 should in no way signal any indication that elected state officials are the best guiding voice on what specific material should be taught in the classroom.”

The education bill was initiated by the late Edgar Hagopian, who died in 2011. The Hagopian family continued the campaign over the years, with the help of the Knights of Vartan and then through a committee comprising members of the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian Democratic Liberal party.

John Jamian, the Armenian Assembly leader in the state, was also instrumental in the campaign.

Its success was achieved through sustained and coordinated community effort.