The school board in McMinn County, Tennessee, voted 10-0 to ban the Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novel Maus from its schools. Board members complained about unacceptable language (“God damn”) and nudity (nude mice). The book by Art Spiegelman is about his father’s brutal experiences during the Holocaust. Presumably, the board wants the story of genocide told in a pleasant, inoffensive way.

Teachers in the district testified on behalf of the book.

The members of the school board heard from English language arts instructional supervisors about why the book was being used in the curriculum, the meeting minutes show.

Board member Tony Allman took issue with how the content would be redacted, and added, “We don’t need to enable or somewhat promote this stuff. It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff? It is not wise or healthy,” according to the meeting minutes.

In response, instructional supervisor Julie Goodin countered, “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,” the meeting minutes say.

“Mr. Spiegelman did his very best to depict his mother passing away, and we are almost 80 years away. 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,” Goodin continued.Black parents say movement to ban critical race theory is ruining their children’s education

Melasawn Knight, another instructional supervisor, echoed Goodin’s stance that the graphic novel depicts history as it happened, the meeting minutes indicate.

“People did hang from trees, people did commit suicide and people were killed, over six million were murdered,” Knight said.

“I think the author is portraying that because it is a true story about his father that lived through that. He is trying to portray that the best he can with the language that he chooses that would relate to that time, maybe to help people who haven’t been in that aspect in time to actually relate to the horrors of it.

“Is the language objectionable? Sure. I think that is how he uses that language to portray that,” Knight said.

It is not possible to teach the history of the Holocaust without acknowledging organize brutality, savagery, mass murder, and sadism. Teaching the history honestly is no doubt offensive to Nazis, but one imagines they are not a significant bloc in McMinn County. If the school board wants to protect students against the reality of the Holocaust, what are teachers allowed to say about slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, and the KKK?