Gifford Middle School, located in eastern Florida, recently removed the Assassination Classroom manga series from its library due to complaints from various groups. Similarly, the Elmbrook School District in southeastern Wisconsin also removed the manga from its electronic library following a parent’s complaint. This popular series has been facing challenges in other states as well.
Schools in the USA Removed Assassination Classroom Manga From Libraries
The manga depicts a class of middle school students who are given the task of assassinating their homeroom teacher, who is actually an alien with superpowers before it destroys Earth at the end of the school year. However, some groups and parents have raised concerns about the content of the manga, particularly the illustrations of students with guns in a classroom setting.
Jennifer Pippin, chair of the Indian River County chapter of Moms for Liberty, expressed concern about the books being inappropriate, especially considering recent school shootings in the US. Pippin stated, “We don’t want students to think it’s OK to kill their teachers.” Another group called Citizens Defending Freedom in Florida has also announced its intention to challenge the manga due to its violent and sexually explicit content, which can be found in Florida middle schools.
Florida’s HB 1467 bill, which went into effect in July of last year, requires school libraries to only include books that have been pre-approved or vetted by a holder of an educational media specialist certificate from Florida’s Department of Education.
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In Wisconsin, the Elmbrook School District had initially added five books from the series to its e-library for the 2021-2022 school year, but they were removed after a parent raised concerns about the potential promotion of gun violence against teachers. The district’s Director of Library Services, Kay Koepsel-Benning, called the claim “inaccurate.” Another parent also raised concerns about the depiction of violence and sexualization of minors in the series.
The Assassination Classroom manga has also faced challenges in Pender County, North Carolina, where it was described as a work that educates students on how to harm their teachers. In Richmond, Virginia, House Bill 1379, which requires school principals to keep a catalog of all audiovisual content and track books containing sexually explicit content in the school library, has passed the House of Delegates and is up for debate in Senate subcommittees. Delegate Tim Anderson, who sponsored the bill, cited the Assassination Classroom manga as an example and expressed his concern about its availability in some school libraries.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time a manga series has faced challenges in the US. The Death Note manga, also published in Weekly Shonen Jump, has faced similar complaints in the past. In fact, the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association listed it among its “2007 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens,” and the ALA cited it in its Banned Books Week 2010 campaign to raise public awareness about challenges to manga and other books.
Source: ANN, CNN, USA Today