Anne Frank Photo: Public domain, via Wikipedia
A Texas school district has fired an 8th-grade English teacher for having students read a passage from The Diary of Anne Frank in which the titular writer describes her genitals and lesbian attraction.
The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District (HFISD) of Jefferson County, Texas — a near coastal region about 80 miles east of Houston — fired the unnamed teacher after she assigned students a reading from Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation. The adaptation is an illustrated, comic book version of the diary that Frank, a German-born Jewish teen, wrote in the late 1940s while hiding from Nazis. Frank was 13 to 16 years old when writing the diary.
In one section of the graphic adaptation, Frank asks a female friend if she’d feel comfortable exposing their breasts to each other. In the three-panel scene, Frank’s friend refuses and they both remain clothed. In another section, Frank walks amongst nude female statues and admits, “I must admit, every time I see a female nude, I go into ecstasy. If only I had a girlfriend!”
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In yet another section, Frank writes about her own genitals, describing their changing physical appearance as she experiences puberty. This section was omitted from the book’s 1952 English edition but eventually restored in its 1980s republication.
HFISD notified parents on Tuesday via email, “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. Your student’s teacher will communicate her apologies to you and your students soon, as she has expressed those apologies to us.”
By Wednesday, the district fired the teacher. While district officials said the book had never been approved, “it was on a reading list sent to parents at the start of the school year,” KFDM reported, and the middle school’s principal reportedly approved the syllabus that mentioned the book.
Nevertheless, one parent told the aforementioned news station, “It’s bad enough, [the teacher is] having them read this for an assignment, but then she also is making them read it aloud and making a little girl talk about feeling each other’s breasts and when she sees a female she goes into ecstasy — that’s not ok.”
The fired teacher has reportedly hired an attorney, but this isn’t the first time that the book’s lesbian content has angered parents.
A Florida principal removed the book from the Vero Beach High School library for being “not age appropriate” after a local chapter of the anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty complained the book was “not a true adaptation of the Holocaust” and contained “graphic” and “sexually explicit” illustrations.
In August 2022, the Keller Independent School District of Texas also banned it, along with 41 books mostly focused on LGBTQ+ and Black characters that it called “pornographic.” After a public outcry, the district returned the Anne Frank book to school libraries.
The book has long been used to teach students about the Holocaust. Its sexual passages reflect similar experiences that teenagers undergo throughout puberty.
Source of data and images: lgbtqnation