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Mom Shocked By 8th Grade Teacher Reading Anne Frank’s Diary To Her Kid, Gets Teacher Fired
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Mom Shocked By 8th Grade Teacher Reading Anne Frank’s Diary To Her Kid, Gets Teacher Fired

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The US has seen a growing number of book bans after several states have passed legislation allowing parents to challenge school materials deemed inappropriate for their children and holding educators liable for the inadequate content they may teach. The most talked-about example is perhaps Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education Act, passed in 2022.

Most of the challenged books deal with topics of race, gender, and sexual identity. Additionally, some Jewish-themed titles have also been the object of criticism.

The latest incident involving parental challenges took place on September 13 in Hamshire, Texas, when a teacher was fired after reading aloud an excerpt of an illustrated version of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl to her eighth-grade class, local news outlet KFDM-6 has reported.

A teacher in Hamshire, Texas, was fired after reading an excerpt of “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation”, a graphic novel intended for young readers

Image credits: David Polonsky

Mike Canizales, the communications director and community engagement coordinator for the Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District (IDS), told the outlet that the book hadn’t been approved by the district.

He also mentioned that there was an active investigation on the teacher.

Following the complaints, the school sent an email to the students’ parents that read, “It was brought to the administration’s attention tonight that 8th grade students were reading content that was not appropriate. The reading of the content will cease immediately.”

Released in 2018, the graphic novel, titled Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, tells a compressed version of Anne Frank’s diary entries using illustrations. The book was published with the approval of the Anne Frank Fonds, the Switzerland-based institution that controls the copyright to her diary.

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Anne Frank wrote her Diary at the age of 12 while hiding in the annex of an Amsterdam house during the Holocaust

Image credits: Photo Collection Anne Frank House

Anne Frank wrote the original diary at age 12 while hiding in the annex of an Amsterdam house during the Holocaust. Frank was discovered after two years in hiding and murdered at age 16 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her diary is taught at schools worldwide as a piece of historical literature that educates students on Nazi persecution and the Shoah.

Adapted by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky, the graphic novel—which is intended for young readers— contains passages that had been excluded from the original version of the diary, published in Dutch in 1947.

Amy Manuel, a mother of twin sons, told KFDM-6 that she disapproved of the content that mentions Frank’s feeling of attraction toward another girl, a passage she described as “not okay.” Another part of the book that parents took issue with was Frank’s description of her own genitalia.

The graphic adaptation was criticized for its mention of Frank feeling attraction towards another girl and speaking about her genitalia

Image credits: Uark Theatre

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In April, a Florida public high school removed the graphic edition from its library following parental complaints. Cristen Maddux, a spokesperson for the Indian River County school district, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the book was considered “not age appropriate.”

The decision to remove the novel from the shelves of Vero Beach High School came after a parent belonging to the conservative group Moms For Liberty claimed it was “not a true adaptation of the Holocaust” given its illustrations of Frank walking among “sexually explicit” female nude statues.

The conservative parent-advocacy group, which began in Indian River and Brevard Counties, is now present in 44 states and has challenged books throughout the country.

The illustrated version of Frank’s diary was also attacked in Florida and Texas schools after parents considered it “not age appropriate”

Image credits: Ewen Roberts

Another incident regarding the Holocaust graphic novel occurred last year in Texas’ Keller Independent School District outside Fort Worth when parents pushed librarians to remove the “pornographic” book from the schools. However, the action was reversed following criticism from the Jewish community and media backlash.

The campaign to keep the book on the shelves included several outside organizations who expressed their intention to send hundreds of copies of different versions of the diary to the school district.

There have been other Holocaust-themed books removed from public schools, such as Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller, eliminated from a South Florida school library, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus, pulled from a middle school curriculum in a Tennessee district.

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Spiegelman’s graphic novel presents Jewish victims as mice and Nazis as cats, and became a #1 Amazon bestseller after it was challenged by parents.

Other Holocaust-themed books, such as Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” and Jodi Picoult’s “The Storyteller”, have also been challenged in public schools

Image credits: Charles Hackley

In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Anne Frank Fonds expressed that it was “generally concerned that ignorance about the Shoah, relativization or denial of history are on the rise, especially in the United States.”

The reality is that book bans and challenges are on the rise across the United States. In 2019, the American Library Association tracked 377 challenges to library materials and services. That figure had jumped to 695 by the first eight months of 2023.

“There’s a decline in history education at the same time that there’s a rise in social media,” Gretchen Skidmore, director of education initiatives at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., pointed out.

“We’ve done studies with our partners at Holocaust centers that show that students are coming in with questions about whether the Holocaust was an actual event. That wasn’t true 20 years ago.”

While platforms like Twitter and Instagram are often referred to as the modern version of a Greek agora, they also allow millions of users to make false claims and spread misinformation.  

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This not only makes the victims of the past invisible, but it can also generate new ones.

Of course, people online disagreed with Texas’ decision to limit the book

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

Ieva Pečiulytė

Ieva Pečiulytė

Author, BoredPanda staff

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I'm a Visual Editor for Bored Panda. I’m also an analog collage artist. My love for images and experience in layering goes well with both creating collages by hand and working with digital images as an Editor. When I’m not using my kitchen area as an art studio I also do various experiments making my own cosmetics or brewing kombucha. When I’m not at home you would most definitely find me attending a concert or walking my dog.

Read less »

Ieva Pečiulytė

Ieva Pečiulytė

Author, BoredPanda staff

I'm a Visual Editor for Bored Panda. I’m also an analog collage artist. My love for images and experience in layering goes well with both creating collages by hand and working with digital images as an Editor. When I’m not using my kitchen area as an art studio I also do various experiments making my own cosmetics or brewing kombucha. When I’m not at home you would most definitely find me attending a concert or walking my dog.

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dillhenricks avatar
Dill
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Fairly sure the most upsetting part about Anne Frank's Diary is the knowledge that the author was murdered aged 16 and the circumstances of her last few years of life. Plus the fact that this happened to many others. None of the other stuff is anything people need to get worked up about. I believe the 'offending' part is where Anne suggests to a friend they show each other their breasts and a section where Anne walks past nude statues. There are far worse things that children are fully aware about at a much earlier age than anything Anne wrote.

de-snoekies avatar
Alexandra
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Moms for Liberty"? Please spare me! Moms for ignorance, bigotry and control, more like.

woosterhof avatar
Willem Oosterhof
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is also big news in the Netherlands. Sentiment is a feeling of disbelieve. I really think the ambassador has to report himself. These fascist censors who call themselves responsible parents deny the past as if it never happened. It really must suck if you need to correct a girl who was born 100 years ago who grew up under dire circumstances. Who was just trying to live through puberty. Why is it now controversial after so many years??

christmas avatar
Chris Jones
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not all publications have the part that they're so worked up about. Yet, what has been ommited before is nothing offensive, nothing children of that age would be upset by. It's pathetic.

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dillhenricks avatar
Dill
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Fairly sure the most upsetting part about Anne Frank's Diary is the knowledge that the author was murdered aged 16 and the circumstances of her last few years of life. Plus the fact that this happened to many others. None of the other stuff is anything people need to get worked up about. I believe the 'offending' part is where Anne suggests to a friend they show each other their breasts and a section where Anne walks past nude statues. There are far worse things that children are fully aware about at a much earlier age than anything Anne wrote.

de-snoekies avatar
Alexandra
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Moms for Liberty"? Please spare me! Moms for ignorance, bigotry and control, more like.

woosterhof avatar
Willem Oosterhof
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is also big news in the Netherlands. Sentiment is a feeling of disbelieve. I really think the ambassador has to report himself. These fascist censors who call themselves responsible parents deny the past as if it never happened. It really must suck if you need to correct a girl who was born 100 years ago who grew up under dire circumstances. Who was just trying to live through puberty. Why is it now controversial after so many years??

christmas avatar
Chris Jones
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not all publications have the part that they're so worked up about. Yet, what has been ommited before is nothing offensive, nothing children of that age would be upset by. It's pathetic.

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