(1) That the holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis during the period between one thousand nine hundred thirty-three and one thousand nine hundred forty-five resulted in the genocide of six million Jews and millions of non-Jews as part of a carefully orchestrated central government program;
(2) That the holocaust stands as a grim reminder and warning to all generations of genocidal crimes and atrocities committed by man based on ignorance and fear and that all people should rededicate themselves to the principles of human rights and equal protection under the laws of a democratic society;
(3) That education can ensure that citizens are knowledgeable about the events leading up to the holocaust and about the organizations and facilities that were created and used purposefully for the systematic destruction of human beings and that the lessons of holistic trust and respect for peoples of various cultures are important for the citizens of West Virginia as they enter the global marketplace and economy;
(4) That programs, workshops, institutes, seminars, exhibits and other teacher training and public awareness activities for the study of the holocaust have taken place during recent years, but a central resource for schools, churches and communities studying the holocaust is needed;
(5) That, toward that end, the governor, by executive order No. 2-98, dated the sixteenth day of April, one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight, created and established the West Virginia holocaust commission on education; and
(6) That, in furtherance of the intent and purposes of the aforesaid executive order, it is the intent of the Legislature to create a permanent state commission which, as an organized body and on a continuous basis, will survey, design, encourage and promote implementation of holocaust education and awareness programs in West Virginia and will be responsible for organizing and promoting the memorialization of the holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state.
(b) The commission is composed of eleven members: Two members currently serving on the state board of education, selected by the board; the state superintendent of schools or his or her designee; the director of the division of veterans' affairs; one attorney from the attorney general's office, civil rights division; one teacher who has completed professional development related to holocaust education teaching at the high-school level and one teacher who has completed professional development related to holocaust education teaching at the junior-high or middle-school level, each appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; and four state residents, appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall be: Individuals who are holocaust scholars or individuals experienced in the field of holocaust education or survivors, second generation, eye-witness/liberators or individuals recommended by the chair of the present holocaust education commission, created by executive order, who, by virtue of their interest, education or long-term involvement in human rights, prejudice reduction and holocaust education have demonstrated, through their past commitment and cooperation with the existing holocaust commission on education, their willingness to work for holocaust awareness and education in West Virginia.
(c) Members of the commission shall be appointed for terms of three years or until their prospective successors are appointed and qualified. Members are eligible for reappointment. Any member of the commission who fails to attend more than two consecutive meetings without an excuse approved by the commission may be removed from the commission. All vacancies shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as the original appointment and the individual appointed to fill the vacancy serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(d) The governor shall appoint a chairperson for the commission for a term of three years and until his or her successor is appointed and qualified.
(e) The speaker of the House of Delegates shall appoint a member of the House of Delegates and the president of the Senate shall appoint a member of the Senate to serve as advisors to the commission.
(f) Members of the commission are not entitled to compensation for services performed as members but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred for each day engaged in the performance of their official commission duties in a manner consistent with the guidelines of the travel management office of the department of administration.
(1) Provide, based upon the collective knowledge and experience of its members, assistance and advice to public and private schools, colleges and universities with respect to the implementation of holocaust education and awareness programs;
(2) Meet with appropriate education officials and other interested public and private organizations, including service organizations, for the purpose of providing information, planning, coordination or modification of courses of study or programs dealing with the subject of the holocaust;
(3) Compile a roster of individual volunteers who are willing to share their verifiable knowledge and experiences in classrooms, seminars and workshops on the subject of the holocaust. The volunteers may be survivors of the holocaust, liberators of concentration camps, scholars, members of the clergy, community relations professionals or other persons who, by virtue of their experience, education or interest, have experience with the holocaust;
(4) Coordinate events memorializing the holocaust and seek volunteers who are willing and able to participate in commemorative events that will enhance public awareness of the significance of the holocaust; and
(5) Prepare annual reports for the governor and the Legislature regarding its findings and recommendations to facilitate the inclusion of holocaust studies and special programs memorializing the holocaust in educational systems in this state.
(b) The commission may accept and use for the benefit of the people of West Virginia any gift or devise of any property or thing which is lawfully given and is authorized to accept state funds as the same may be appropriated by the Legislature.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session