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McMinn Co. BOE meets after vote to ban Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust novel draws national attention

Board members said they banned the Holocaust graphic novel "Maus" for "unnecessary use of profanity and nudity" along with depictions of violence and suicide.

MCMINN COUNTY, Tenn. — The McMinn County Board of Education voted unanimously to remove a book about the Holocaust from the school curriculum — Maus. The vote was held during a called meeting on January 10.

They met on February 10 for their next regular meeting, with plenty of parents and community members expected to be in attendance who planned to speak on the ban. In the days since the vote, the decision drew national attention and the author responded, saying he was 'flabbergasted' at the decision.

A Knoxville comic book store also raised thousands of dollars to provide copies of Maus to students in the area.

You can watch the meeting through the YouTube link below from a sister station, WRCB:

Board members said the graphic novel called "Maus" by Art Spiegelman has inappropriate language and graphic depictions. In a statement on Facebook Thursday evening, the board said it felt the work was "simply too adult-oriented" to be in schools.

"One of the most important roles of an elected board of education is to reflect the values of the community it serves. The McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide. Taken as a whole, the Board felt this work was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools. 

We do not diminish the value of Maus as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the importance of teaching our children the historical and moral lessons and realities of the Holocaust. To the contrary, we have asked our administrators to find other works that accomplish the same educational goals in a more age-appropriate fashion. The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description, and we all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn of its horrors to ensure that such an event is never repeated. 

We simply do not believe that this work is an appropriate text for our students to study."

After discussing options like redacting portions of the book if given permission by the author or replacing the book with another book about the Holocaust, board members decided to remove the book from schools altogether.

In 1992, Maus became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.