First Circuit Rules on Teaching Armenian Genocide

The Boston Globe reports that the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that statewide public school guidelines on teaching human rights history can exclude materials disputing that the mass slaying of Armenians in the First World War era constituted genocide.  Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter wrote the opinion.

The decision… found that state education officials did not violate public school students’ free speech rights in 1999, when they excluded all “contra-genocide’’ sources calling the Armenian genocide into question.

Van Z. Krikorian, a professor at Pace University Law School who filed a brief defending the state’s move, said he was thrilled by the ruling, equating those who dispute the genocide designation to Holocaust deniers.

“It would have put human rights education in reverse,’’ he said. “It’s a major defeat for genocide denial.’’

Upholding a lower-court decision, the court ruled that although state guidelines were advisory, and “not meant to declare other positions out of bounds in study and discussion,’’ they were part of the official curriculum and therefore under the discretion of state authorities.

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