MCMINN COUNTY, Tenn. — Dozens of parents arrived at the McMinn County Board of Education to voice their concern over the board removing 'Maus,' a Pulitzer-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from the curriculum. The vote came on Jan. 10 and the board gathered a month later for their regular session.
Many parents left the meeting feeling the same way they arrived after education leaders did not address their concerns. The decision to remove Maus was not on their agenda, despite the national attention they received after it was banned. People across the country criticized their unanimous decision, including leading writers and the author of the book himself.
"I am disappointed in our board's inability to listen to what our speakers were saying," said one parent at the meeting. "I think the removal of Maus is disturbing and frustrating. I also think that we have to understand that educating our kids isn't always clean and neat."
The parents organized to attend the meeting and speak through the "McMinn County Neighbors" group. They said the decision to take the book out of the hands of eighth-graders was wrong.
Some students also spoke out during the meeting.
"I will not retract the fact that I am ashamed to live in a county with a school board that has no regard for emotions or history," said one student.
Board members voted unanimously to remove the book. One member said he voted for it because he thought the Holocaust should be taught by parents, instead of at schools.
Many parents who attended said they were hoping the board would take action to address their concerns about the decision. Since none was taken, they said they planned to be back at the next board meeting to voice their concerns, again.