By Thomas C . Nash
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
BOSTON — A five-year legal tussle over a curriculum guide addressing the Armenian Genocide — and seeking to include deniers — may have finally ended last week, following a ruling from the First Circuit Court of Appeals that the First Amendment is not at issue.
The August 11 decision upheld US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf’s June 2009 ruling that the challenge against the Massachusetts Department of Education’s curriculum guide on the Armenian Genocide could not go forward.
The suit, filed in October 2005 by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) alongside two high school teachers and a student, alleged the guide limited free speech by not including resources that presented “contra-genocide” viewpoints.
The legal battle began after William Schechter, a now-retired teacher at Lincoln- Sudbury High School, and one of his students, alongside Cambridge Rindge and Latin School teacher Lawrence Aaronson, raised issues with The Massachusetts Guide to Choosing and Using Curricular Materials on Genocide and Human Rights Issues, which includes teaching the Armenian Genocide as an established fact.
In March, lead attorney Harvey Silverglate argued before a three-judge panel — which included retired US Supreme Court Justice David Souter — that the curriculum amounted to a “21st-century library” and should be protected from censorship.