With the Swastika symbol making unwelcome appearances in towns like Ridgefield, Wilton and Redding over the last year, state Sen. Toni Boucher wants to make sure kids graduating from Connecticut\u2019s public schools have a solid understanding of the dark history of genocide behind the hate symbol. \u201cThe fact that two-thirds of the Jewish European population was eliminated, systematically exterminated, that is something that can never be ignored,\u201d Boucher said. \u201cIt needs to be talked about and we need to have it as part of our instruction.\u201d Boucher told The Ridgefield Press on Tuesday, Jan. 23, that she plans to introduce a bill in the legislature requiring that Holocaust and World War II be part of the curriculum in public schools statewide. The senator, whose 26th District includes Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, Westport, and parts of Weston, New Canaan and Bethel, said her goal is to ensure that kids know the background of the Nazi symbol and the hate-filled ideology it stands for by the time they graduate from high school. Boucher said she\u2019d worked on a bill addressing Holocaust studies that was passed years ago when she was a Wilton state representative. Now, with three of the towns in her district dealing with swastika graffiti incidents in the past year, she thinks it\u2019s time to revisit the issue and make sure studying the Holocaust is mandatory \u2014 not just a curriculum recommendation from the state. Since last fall RIdgefield has had at least six incidents of swastika graffiti found \u2014 in Ballard Park, at Ridgefield High School and, most recently, last week on the Aldrich Museum and the Masons building on Main Street. In Wilton in 2017, a swastika drawn in red marker was found in a middle school bathroom. A few weeks later, a Jewish sixth grader found a note stuck to the student\u2019s locker saying, \u201cJews will burn.\u201d In 2014, swastikas were found etched into a wall and a locker at Wilton High School. In Redding last weekend (Jan. 20-21) a swastika was found etched into a tree at Topstone Park. \u201cRidgefield, Wilton and Redding have had incidents. I\u2019m sure there are situations in other towns as well,\u201d Boucher said. \u201cAnti-Semitism has risen \u2014 I understand that from the Anti-Defamation League \u2014 and other hate cases have risen, and that\u2019s of great concern to the community,\u201d she said. \u201cThere is a heightened concern right now about anti-Semitism. And, of course, we\u2019re always concerned about prejudice and bigotry within our society for people of different races and people of different religions,\u201d she said. \u201cIt had not been focused on for at least 10 years in the House, when we did pass a bill that told school systems that they should voluntarily teach this, about this issue. That the state would have curriculum guidelines available to them, should they want to do it \u2014 not a mandate. Therefore, not too many have really reached out to the Department of Education. That\u2019s when I saw they needed updating on this. That\u2019s well and good, but it\u2019s all voluntary. I know if you really want to focus on something, you require that it\u2019s included in the history or social studies curriculum,\u201d Boucher said. Exactly when and how the studies are fit into the curriculum would be a decision of local schools. \u201cI do think either middle school or certainly high school \u2014 high school is a very appropriate place for it,\u201d Boucher said. \u201cBy the time they graduate out of high school, they should have had at least some direct exposure to this topic.\u201d Boucher said \u201cthe good news\u201d includes that in the legislature\u2019s last session, \u201ca bipartisan bill to reinforce our hate crimes legislation\u201d was passed to \u201cincrease the focus and penalties\u201d for attacks on institutions like synagogues and churches. Mandates on school systems aren\u2019t the most popular thing these days. And as a Republican in a legislature long controlled by Democrats, Boucher admits she hasn\u2019t always had success moving bills through Hartford\u2019s process. But she\u2019s optimistic a Holocaust studies bill will have a fighting chance. \u201cGiven that I\u2019m one of the co-chairs of the Education Committee, I\u2019m hoping this at least gets a public hearing so that we can talk about it,\u201d she said.