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Tennessee School Board Bans Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust Book

McMinn County school board members deemed a popular graphic novel Maus, written about the Holocaust, was inappropriate for 13 year old students (Pictures: AP)

A Tennessee school district has banned a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the Holocaust from being taught in classrooms due to its ‘inappropriate language’ and an illustration of a nude woman.

McMinn County school board members decided on January 10 to remove Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, a graphic novel about the author’s parents, who survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

Maus’ author Art Spiegelman said he was ‘baffled’ by the school district’s decision.

Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for the story, which depicts him interviewing his father about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

Speaking with CNBC on Wednesday, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Spiegelman said: ‘I’ve met so many young people who . . . have learned things from my book.’

Spiegelman called the decision ‘Orwellian.’

‘It’s leaving me with my jaw open, like, “What?”‘ he said.

Spiegelman’s parents were Polish Jews who were sent to Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, when six million Jewish people were killed as part of Nazi Germany’s plan to eradicate Europe’s Jewish population.

While some members felt the book should remain in the school’s curriculum, many felt that the use of swear words within the text was inappropriate for children in eighth grade, who are generally 13-years-old.

During the meeting, the director of schools, Lee Parkinson, was quoted saying ‘there is some rough, objectionable language in this book.’

Members also felt that a cartoon that featured ‘nakedness’ in a drawing of a mouse was unfit for students of that age group, meeting minutes show.

Parkinson first suggested redacting the swear words, however the board then decided to ban teaching the novel altogether over copyright concerns.

The move to ban the graphic novel comes amid a national debate over the curriculum taught public schools, where conservative officials have been trying to stifle educating students about topics like race and inequality.

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