A longterm substitute teacher filling in for a teacher-less middle school class in Texas was fired after assigning the graphic novel version of Anne Frank’s Diary to 8th grade students.
“It was brought to the administration’s attention tonight that 8th grade students were reading content that was not appropriate,” said an email sent out to parents of the Hamshire-Fannett ISD, a public school district in Jefferson County, via 6KFDM.
“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 statement continued.
The so-called offensive passage read to the young teenagers, according to Chron, was about Frank’s observations of male and female anatomy, a huge no-no in MAGAland — even if Frank was only 13 years herself when she wrote the book, and even if her prose about genitalia read like a science textbook (and not at all like erotica, as hysterical book banners would like you to believe).
It’s not clear which PG-13 passage(s) got the teacher canned, but it was probably along the lines of this excerpt, which I found in a decade-old Guardian opinion piece about how conservatives were banning and shame-splaining Frank’s frank and “uncomfortable truth” about a woman’s body: “[U]ntil I was 11 or 12, I didn’t realise there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris. … In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris.”
“As you may be aware, following concerns regarding curricular selections in your student’s reading class, a substitute teacher has been facilitating the class since Wednesday, September 13, 2023,” read a district statement sent to parents obtained by KFDM. “The district is currently in the process of posting to secure a high-quality, full-time teacher as quickly as possible.”
Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager, journaled her experiences as she and her family hid for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Her diary, which was published in 1947, has been used in schools for decades to educate students on the the Holocaust. While previous versions of Frank’s diary omitted sections in which she wrote about sexuality, the 2018 graphic novel adapted by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky, remains faithful to the original text. Folman’s parents are Holocaust survivors.
While district officials claim the adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary was not approved, it was included on a reading list sent to parents at the start of the school year, KFDM reports. The investigation will determine if the teacher pivoted from the original approved curriculum or if administrators were aware of the book being part of the class.