American teacher sacked over Anne Frank’s diary assignment

Illustration: Anne Frank fonds

A teacher in the US has been fired for assigning her class to read a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s World War II diary, with the school authorities arguing it was “inappropriate”. 

The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District sacked the unnamed teacher after she assigned her eighth grade class to read “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation.

The book includes passages Frank wrote about female and male genitalia, and wanting to see a friend’s breasts, American media reported. Eighth-graders are aged 13 and 14. 

The unabridged version of Frank’s diary has already been removed from schools in Texas and Florida this year after complaints from parents over the book’s sexual content, the Washington Post reported.

The school authority is now trying to establish if the adaptation of the diary had been approved. It was reportedly included on a reading list sent to parents at the beginning of the year. 

The New York Times Book Review said of the graphic novel when it was published in 2018: “It remains faithful to the original, while the stunning illustrations interpret and add layers of visual meaning and immediacy to this classic work of Holocaust literature.”

The book is fully authorised by the Anne Frank Fonds, the Switzerland-based foundation that oversees the copyright to Frank’s diary.

Anne herself rewrote a large part of her diary from May 1940 onwards, with the aim of publishing it after the war. And in 2018, Dutch researchers deciphered two pages that she had pasted over with masking paper, revealing four jokes she considered “dirty” and a candid explanation of sex, contraception and prostitution.

She also wrote openly about sexual subjects, such as her periods and conversations she had with Peter van Pels about sex and sexuality.

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