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Arntzen blasts Billings school board for refusing to ban book from library

'Assassination Classroom' was removed from Laurel school library
Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 23, 2024

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen blasted a decision by the Billings school board to keep a controversial book inside school libraries.

The boardvoted 5-4 Tuesday against a measure to ban the graphic novel "Assassination Classroom" from school libraries over concerns from critics that the book depicts themes of violence against teachers. Last week, the Laurel school board removedthe fourth book of the series from its high school library (along with five other books with LGBTQ+ themes), which Artntzen highlighted in her statement.

“This is an extremely disappointing decision from the Billings Trustees. I was hopeful that these Trustees would reflect the decision the Laurel Trustees made to protect our children from obscene materials. Our Montana tax dollars should invest in an education that elevates our children’s learning. It is an egregious misuse of precious taxpayer dollars to provide books with depictions of graphic violence and sexual content to our children. When children are being exposed to this material, I will always stand with parents and Montana families," Arntzen, a Billings Republican and former teacher, said in her statement.

"Assassination Classroom" is a 21-book series of graphic novels featuring a teacher, who is an alien, who asks students to kill him to save the world. Efforts to ban the book have taken place in schools in Florida and Wisconsin, although supporters say the series presents positive themes of belonging for students who feel like outsiders.