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'Assassination Classroom': Billings School District 2 will review book

Book was banned in Laurel
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Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-13 14:56:51-05

BILLINGS - One of six books that the Laurel School Board decided to not allow in the high school library on Monday is also an issue in the Billings school district.

A board committee will meet on Monday to review the book.

One parent, CiCi Kelling, has read the entire 21-volume set of "Assassination Classroom", which is under scrutiny.

"This alien teacher has asked to teach these students and asked that they try to kill him," Kelling said about the book.

"If one reads the book in its entirety and reads the whole series, there are very positive messages in it," Kelling said. "And anyone who reads it would understand that it's not really about assassination at all."

Kelling pointed to some positives in the story: "He says to a student, jump off cliffs any time you wish. Abandoning you is not an option."

"How many kids would love to hear that from an adult in their lives?" Kelling asked. "It's so creative. I just liked the creativity of it. I liked the ridiculousness of it."

Jack Hanson agrees with Kelling on keeping the books in the schools' libraries.

"I think that teachers are not the concern here," Hanson said. "I think parents absolutely should exercise active engagement with the ideas that their children are exposed to and dealing with. That's part of being an active, engaged parent."

Parents have brought up concerns about the book during public comment at board meetings.

"I don't feel that they should be in the school library," said Luke Hudson, a parent. "If you want to put them in the public library, then I think that's a very appropriate place for these types of books. These books are available on Amazon and other booksellers. But we're not here to ban books."

Hudson likes that a committee will look at the book and that the board is looking at its process for getting library books.

The process and procedures are also a concern in Laurel, where this week, the board voted to not allow six books, including the fourth book of "Assassination Classroom", into the high school library.

"The books had been taken out of circulation and the board is just trying to find that transparent medium that we want in schools that allow us to have books," said Matt Torix, Laurel Schools superintendent. "But we want the right age-appropriate books in our school and we're just shooting for that right now."

Torix said Laurel schools paid $120 for the six books, which are being reviewed by some board members.

 And it’s a challenge to get a balance.

"I'd like it to be a lot more clear and objective when these books are challenged," Hudson said.