Parents in multiple states have challenged the book for so-called “inappropriate content,” while historians and the Anne Frank Foundation express concerns about “denial of history”
In some of today’s most alarming news, an unidentified eighth-grade teacher in Texas was fired after reading out loud to her English class from an illustrated version of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” This week, Mike Canizales, the communications director for the Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District (IDS) in Hamshire, Texas, confirmed to reporters that the teacher was fired because “a version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” book that was not approved by the district was read in class.”
He continued, “The teacher was sent home [Wednesday]. There is an active investigation.”
The version the teacher read an excerpt from is called “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,” adapted by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky, released in 2018. It includes passages that were edited out of Anne’s original diary, which she wrote beginning when she was 12, and was first published in 1947. Her diary follows her family in hiding inside the secret annex of a house in Amsterdam for two years before Anne was killed in a concentration camp at the age of 16. Her diary, retrieved after her death, is considered one of the most important pieces of literature about the Holocaust and is often taught in schools as part of the curriculum about the time period.
Amy Manuel, a parent of twin sons who are in the eighth-grade reading class in Texas, told reporters she complained about the book because it contains a passage about Anne’s attraction toward another girl, saying, “That’s not OK.”
After she complained to school administrators, they sent an email to parents reading, “It was brought to the administration’s attention tonight that 8th-grade students were reading content that was not appropriate. The reading of that content will cease immediately.”
This isn’t the first time Anne Frank’s diary has been challenged by parents, and the Anne Frank Foundation, an organization based in Switzerland that controls the copyright to the work, has spoken out about concerns that ignorance of the Holocaust and denial of history are on the rise, especially in the United States.
“We consider the book of a 12-year-old girl to be appropriate reading for her peers,” the Foundation said.