Connect with us

Massachusetts

Antisemitism education amendment passed in Massachusetts

Published

on

Antisemitism education amendment passed in Massachusetts


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – As the Massachusetts Senate continues to debate their budget bill, an amendment to combat antisemitism passed last night.

We spoke with Senator John Velis, and he told us it was an emotional night in State House as many of his Jewish colleagues shared their experiences with antisemitism. He believes requiring the state to come up with a curriculum to educate students and teachers on the vast history of antisemitism is a step in the right direction. Especially as the number of antisemitic instances are on the rise here in the Commonwealth.

Longmeadow parent Shelley Barron told us, “My involvement was really catalyzed by, there was an incident where there was a swastika found on a whiteboard in Longmeadow High School seen by the child of a friend of mine and by our child, so that was very distressing for many of us here in the Longmeadow and kind of the Lower Valley Jewish community.

Shelley Barron is a parent of a 1st grader at Blueberry Hill Elementary School in Longmeadow. As a Jewish mom raising Jewish children, she told us she’s noticed an uptick in antisemitic biases, especially since October 7th when the Israel-Hamas war officially ignited.

Advertisement

This uptick in hatred here in western Mass is what has led her to become an advocate for educating students and the public on the harm of antisemitism, and now an amendment to the state senate budget introduced by Senator John Velis would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with a curriculum to educate students and teachers on antisemitism both historically and beyond. It passed 40 to 0 on Wednesday night.

Velis explained, “I’ve had a lot of meetings recently. I should say with constituents telling me about their kids, kids eight years old, just young young, young telling me about how their loved one, their child, their grandson, granddaughter is embarrassed to say, sad to say, scared to say that they’re Jewish.”

From vandalism to physical assault and verbal harassment, Senator Velis told us antisemitism in our state has gone up over 100%.

To put that in perspective, only 3 percent of our state’s population is Jewish, meanwhile, that small group of our population is on the receiving end of over  60% of all hate crimes that occur in Massachusetts.

Senator Velis added there are five states with 50% of Jewish hate and antisemitism in the U.S. and Massachusetts is among those five.

Advertisement

These alarming numbers are why the senate is working to lend a hand to our Jewish residents and find the root cause of this severe hatred.

Barron added, “I think it’s actually really important to integrate age appropriate curriculum to create safer schools for all children.”

CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass told us there is a lack of understanding by many administrations and officials on what truly qualifies as an act of antisemitism, and they are noticing a lot of hatred going unreported. Gorenstein feels this amendment could potentially help to target this issue.

“I hope that it will help our schools and communities better recognize and connect the dots when these small, isolated things actually happen that they are part of a bigger picture unfortunately and a framework that we want to be disrupting.”

The budget is being reviewed in the Senate as we speak, and once passed, it will then go to a conference committee to come up with a compromise bill with the house.  Senator Velis is optimistic that this antisemitism education amendment will be included in the final draft. I did reach out to DESE as well as the Massachusetts Teachers Association for comment but haven’t yet heard back.

Advertisement



Source link

Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Tuition Credits for Native Americans

Published

on

University of Massachusetts Tuition Credits for Native Americans


If you are a Native American living in Massachusetts, you may qualify for tuition assistance at a state college or university, including UMass Dartmouth and Bristol Community College.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) Commission on Indian Affairs (CIA) says, “Over the last three decades, the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs has assisted in the determination of eligibility of Native Americans living in Massachusetts for tuition credits (formerly known as the tuition waiver) at state colleges and universities.”

The CIA is authorized by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to “certify that applicants are of Native American descent” and eligible for the tuition break.

The Commission on Indian Affairs “uses membership in a Massachusetts tribal group (tribe, band, or clan) that is acknowledged by the Commission as a legitimate, historical tribal group as a criterion for making decisions on the eligibility of students for the tuition credit.”

Advertisement

University Of Massachusetts Tuition Credits For Native Americans

Townsquare Media

Some Native Americans whose tribes are outside of Massachusetts may also be eligible for tuition credits.

To be considered for the tuition credit, applicants must be Native American, a Massachusetts resident, and enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a Massachusetts college or university.

The CIA’s webpage has a link to a list of participating colleges and universities and a link to the Tuition Credit Form. Proof of residency and tribal membership/affiliation is required.

The deadline to apply for the tax credit for the fall semester is July 15, and December 15 for the spring semester.

Advertisement

The site can also help with housing needs.

Plympton First Period Home For Sale May Be America’s Oldest House on the Market

The Stephen Bryant House in Plympton, Massachusetts was built in 1669. The current homeowners have owned it for the last 31 years and lovingly restored it, but now they are putting it on the market for $800,000.

Gallery Credit: Tim Weisberg

LOOK: The 25 least expensive states to live in

Gallery Credit: Aubrey Jane McClaine





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Massachusetts

Firewall Blamed for 911 Outage in Massachusetts

Published

on

Firewall Blamed for 911 Outage in Massachusetts


A firewall designed to prevent cyberattacks and hacking was to blame for the 911 outage that hit Massachusetts this week, state officials said Wednesday. Massachusetts’ 911 system was down for about two hours Tuesday, making it impossible for anyone to reach emergency services using the number. In a statement Wednesday, the Massachusetts State 911 Department said it determined the outage, which lasted from 1:15pm to 3:15pm, was due to a safety feature that prevents cyberattacks, though the reason for that is still under review, the AP reports.

While some calls didn’t go through, the state said the system “allows dispatch centers to identify the phone number of callers and return those calls.” As a result, the department was not aware of any emergencies being negatively affected by the outage. At the time of the outage, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said it was important for residents to know alternative ways of getting help, particularly given the hot weather heading toward the Northeast. He advised the public to contact local police departments if necessary.

Advertisement

In another recent 911 outage, services in four states were interrupted when a crew installing a light pole cut into a fiber line. “You and I and everybody take 911 for granted,” Brian Fontes, chief executive of the National Emergency Number Association advocacy group, told the New York Times on Tuesday. “We just always expect it to work. And, to be truthful, it works very well on good days.” He added: “Not every day is a good day, as we’ve seen in Massachusetts today.” (More 911 stories.)





Source link

Continue Reading

Massachusetts

Statewide 911 service outage cause determined

Published

on

Statewide 911 service outage cause determined


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – State officials have been able to determine what happened Tuesday that caused 911 services to be disrupted statewide.

According to the Massachusetts State 911 Department the outage was caused by a firewall.

“A preliminary investigation conducted by the State 911 Department and (911 vendor) Comtech determined that the outage was the result of a firewall, a safety feature that provides protection against cyberattacks and hacking. The firewall prevented calls from getting to the 911 dispatch centers …” the Department said Wednesday morning.

The interruption to the system started at about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday and lasted for about 2 hours.

Advertisement

By 3:15 p.m. the 911 system was back up and running as normal.

[ Statewide 911 service restored across Massachusetts]

“Comtech’s initial review of the incident has confirmed that the interruption was not the result of a cyberattack or hack; However, the exact reason the firewall stopped calls from reaching dispatch centers remains under review,” noted the MA State 911 Dep.

State officials report that Comtech has applied a technical solution to “ensure that this does not happen again.”

“The Massachusetts State 911 Department is deeply committed to providing reliable, state-of-the-art 911 services to all Massachusetts residents and visitors in an emergency. The Department will take all necessary steps to prevent a future occurrence,” explained Frank Pozniak, the Department’s Executive Director.

Advertisement

We’re told while the 911 system was disrupted on Tuesday, there were no reports of any emergencies being impacted.

“The State 911 Department wishes to thank state and local emergency response agencies for their swift response to this matter.”

This marks the second time this year the 911 system has been disrupted in MA.

Back on April 12, several communities across the commonwealth, including Springfield, were impacted by an outage to the 911 system.

In that case, a network issue at one of the 911 Department’s data centers was determined to be the cause.

Advertisement

[READ MORE: Springfield’s 911 system back online following statewide issue]



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending