Panel votes to keep Death Note in school

A seven-member committee voted unanimously last week not to remove the manga series Death Note from the library of Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The committee included librarians, someone from the school district, a parent, a local businessman, and the pastor of a local church.

According to the Albuquerque Public Schools website, the series was challenged by Peggie Salazar, the parent of a Volcano Vista student, who stated, in her request for a hearing, “The book talks about killing the bad guys. Even though the death note is toward bad people, it is still killing and who the bad guy is could be different in everyone’s eyes. You never know what were the thoughts of the killer for the Columbine killings.”

Commitee member Tom Genne displayed a better grasp of the book, saying, "High school age kids do grapple with questions about justice and morality, and whether civilization, or the societies of which they are a part of, are making good decisions." Genne is the director of research, deployment, and accountability for the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Local news station KRQE observed that this was the first such hearing the Albuquerque school system has held in five years. Despite the committee's vote, the associate superintendent of schools will decide whether to keep or ban the book, with the superintendent having the ultimate say in case of an appeal.

(Story found via Anime News Network, which also lists a number of incidents, one recent, in which teenagers make their own Death Notes.)

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