Texas teacher fired for assigning students Anne Frank graphic novel

Book bans are surging across the US amid pressure from parents

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 20 September 2023 15:48 BST
Texas School District Yanks Anne Frank’s Diary and Bible From Shelves

A Texas middle school teacher has been fired for assigning an unauthorised graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary to her eighth-grade students.

A Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District spokesperson confirmed to KFDM the teacher had been sent home and asked to apologise for reading from Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, which contains references to male and female genitalia.

The controversy began when a mother of twin boys in the class complained that students were required to read aloud a passage from the illustrated book that contained references to Frank’s exploration of her body while going through puberty, according to KFDM.

The school district sent out a note to parents that the “reading of that content will cease immediately”.

“Your student’s teacher will communicate her apologies to you and your students soon, as she has expressed those apologies to us,” the note, obtained by the CBS affiliate, read.

Frank was a Jewish teenager whose diary documenting her two years hiding from Nazis in an attic in Germany-occupied Holland in the early 1940s became a staple of Holocaust history lessons.

The passage in question, which was written when she was roughly the same age as the eighth-grade students, was edited out of the revised version Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

A Texas school teacher was fired after reading a passage from Anne Frank’s Diary - The Graphic Adaptation

In 2018, Israeli screenwriter Ari Folman reinstated the entries in an illustrated graphic novel adaptation of the diary. Mr Folman’s parents are Holocaust survivors.

Although school district officials have insisted that the graphic novel had not been approved, it was reportedly among books included on a reading list sent to teachers earlier this year, according to KFDM.

The Hamshire-Fannett school district has said it is investigating. The district’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Independent.

In April, the adapted version was removed from a Florida school library after complaints from the far-right Moms for Liberty activist group.

The illustrated version was also pulled from a Dallas-Fort Worth-area school library earlier this year.

A surge in restrictions against books under the auspices of a “parental rights” saw  at least 1,477 attempts to ban 874 individual book titles in the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, according to PEN America.

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