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NEA applauds President Obama’s signing of hate crimes legislation

WASHINGTON - October 28, 2009 -

More than 10 years after similar proposals were first introduced, President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign into law federal hate crimes legislation today. The NEA applauded the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act as a critical milestone for civil rights.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“As educators, NEA members share a commitment to protecting the civil and human rights of our students and communities. We applaud Congress and President Obama for taking a leadership role in confronting criminal acts motivated by prejudice.

“NEA has taken aggressive steps to address the issue of hate crimes in the context of schools and school districts. NEA and its affiliates have worked to develop training for educators and programs for students regarding hate crimes and human relations skills.  But the efforts of educators and community leaders must be accompanied by federal partnerships.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Will Potter  (202) 822-7823,