- A Tennessee school board decided to remove a book about the Holocaust from its curriculum.
- "Maus," by Art Spiegelman, is a graphic novel that depicts the author's father who survived the Holocaust.
- One board member called the graphic nature of the book "completely unnecessary."
A Tennessee school board removed "Maus" — a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman informed by interviews with the author's father, a survivor of the Holocaust, that depicts the genocide through mice and cats — from the eighth-grade curriculum, local outlet The Tennessee Holler reported Wednesday.
Despite the instructional supervisors saying the book was instrumental to students' comprehension and understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust, board members expressed concerns over its explicit account of the killing of 6 million Jews and 5 million others — including the usage of the phrase "God damn" and nude illustrations — according to minutes from the meeting.
In a unanimous vote on January 10, the McMinn County Board of Education decided to remove "Maus" from the curriculum, according to the meeting's minutes.
The McMinn County Board of Education did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Before voting to remove the book from the curriculum, the board discussed redacting parts of the book but mentioned concerns about copyright violations.
"It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids," said board member Tony Allman, according to minutes from the meeting. "Why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff? It is not wise or healthy."
An assistant principal, Julie Goodin, responded: "I can talk of the history, I was a history teacher and there is nothing pretty about the Holocaust, and for me this was a great way to depict a horrific time in history.
"Mr. Spiegelman did his very best to depict his mother passing away and we are almost 80 years away," Goodin continued. "It's hard for this generation, these kids don't even know 9/11, they were not even born. For me this was his way to convey the message. Are the words objectionable? Yes, there is no one that thinks they aren't but by taking away the first part, it's not changing the meaning of what he is trying to portray and copyright."
Allman said that he wasn't denying the brutality of the Holocaust, but he argued that the book would be better off without some of its graphic content.
Board member Mike Cochran echoed that sentiment, calling the graphic bits "completely unnecessary."
"Maus" was the main text for the Holocaust section of learning, and it would have been taught alongside other materials such as news articles from the time period, interviews from survivors, and snippets from other relevant books, Steven Brady, an instructional supervisor, said in the meeting.
Brady also argued that, alongside this book, and within the curriculum, students are taught empathy, compassion, and respect for others.
"I've met so many young people who ... have learned things from my book," Spiegelman, author of the book, told CNBC.
This book is one of a myriad across the country that has recently been removed from curriculums.
According to The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, a school board in Wentzville, Missouri, banned Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye," which centers on a Black girl's story as she grew up during the Great Depression.