Corporate Media Misrepresents Tennessee School’s ‘Ban’ Of Holocaust Book


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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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Numerous media outlets reported Thursday that a Tennessee school banned a famous graphic novel about the Holocaust.

The school voted to replace “Maus,” by Art Spiegelman, an illustrated book about a Holocaust survivor’s experience which was required reading for eighth-graders, with a different book that contains fewer obscenities such as foul language and sex, according to the minutes of a Jan. 10 McMinn County Board Of Education meeting.

Several conservatives pointed out that the vote was about removing the book from the curriculum, not an outright ban.

School board members discussed how they could keep the book in the curriculum while removing swear words and references to sex, but they ultimately decided that such efforts could create a legal liability for copyright violations.

The school board did not discuss banning the book from school premises, discouraging students from reading it or even removing it from school libraries.

Board member Rob Shamblin speculated that “Maus” will continue to be part of the district’s eighth grade reading curriculum if the district is unable to find a suitable replacement, although he was reportedly unsure of exactly what would happen in that situation. The school board voted unanimously to take the book out of the curriculum. (RELATED: Authorities Arrest Man Who Allegedly Sold Gun To Suspect In Texas Synagogue Hostage Situation)

“We can teach them history and we can teach them graphic history. We can tell them exactly what happened, but we don’t need all the nakedness and all the other stuff,” board member Mike Cochran explained at the meeting. “A lot of the cussing had to do with the son cussing out the father, so I don’t really know how that teaches our kids any kind of ethical stuff.”

The claim that the book was banned was spread by numerous media outlets including BBC News, CNBC, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, HuffPost and Newsweek.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

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