Teacher Fired Amid Graphic Anne Frank Controversy

Diary of Anne Frank
Cover of Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation | Image by David Polonsky

A Texas middle school teacher was fired last week after an unapproved version of Anne Frank’s diary containing sexual content was assigned to a class.

Hamshire-Fannett ISD confirmed to KFDM that a substitute teacher assigned an 8th-grade class to read Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation. As in the original work, the graphic novel includes several moments in which Frank describes romantic interests, which include mentions of genitalia and her interest in women. The teacher was subsequently dismissed.

“A version of The Diary of Anne Frank book that was not approved by the district was read in class,” acknowledged Mike Canizales, the communications engagement coordinator for H-F ISD.

Frank’s diary details her family’s experiences as they hid for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. It was published in 1947 and has been taught for decades in schools to educate students about the Holocaust.

In the unabridged version, Frank details her sexual interest in her female friend, but those particular passages have been edited out of the versions adopted as assigned readings in schools, according to The Velvet Chronicle.

“Sometimes when I lie in bed at night I feel a terrible urge to touch my breasts and listen to the quiet, steady beating of my heart,” Frank wrote.

“Once when I was spending the night at Jacque’s, I could no longer restrain my curiosity about her body, which she’d always hidden from me and which I’d never seen,” Frank wrote. “I asked her whether, as proof of our friendship, we could touch each other’s breasts. Jacque refused.

“I also had a terrible desire to kiss her, which I did. Every time I see a female nude, such as the Venus in my art history book, I go into ecstasy. Sometimes I find them so exquisite, I have to struggle to hold back my tears. If only I had a girlfriend!”

These passages are, however, present in the graphic novel adaptation. The assigned book has become a topic of controversy at several schools, with a number of districts removing it from their libraries, including Keller ISD.

H-F ISD’s Canizales provided KFDM with a statement sent to parents that noted the district is working to hire a replacement for the dismissed teacher in a timely fashion.

“During this period of transition, our administrators and curriculum team will provide heightened support and monitoring in the reading class to ensure continuity in instruction,” it read.

“We appreciate your trust and partnership as we all work towards the common goal of safeguarding your child’s educational environment.”

Canizales said an investigation into the matter is ongoing.

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