Texas Teacher Dismissed for Assigning Graphic Novel Adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary

(NewsReady.com) – A Texas school board has fired a teacher after she assigned her class a graphic novel based on “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Parents have complained that the book contains sexually explicit passages left out of the versions middle school students usually see. The school district says the graphic novel version hasn’t been approved for their schools, and the teacher was wrong to assign it.

On September 15, the Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District announced that a teacher, who they didn’t publicly identify, had been terminated from Hamshire-Fannett Middle School in Beaumont, Texas. The teacher had given an eighth-grade class “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” as an assigned text.

Frank’s diary has been widely taught in schools for decades, but most editions of it have been edited to remove some passages where Frank, who died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp aged 15, discussed sexual topics. The graphic novel leaves those passages in — and that makes the book a target in the culture wars. Parents and conservative groups have been highly critical of the graphic novel, calling it “Anne Frank pornography,” and it’s already been banned from some schools.

According to a local Fox affiliate, the fired teacher got students to read a passage where Frank talks about male and female genitalia. When district officials found out about the incident on September 13 the teacher was sent home, and she’s now been terminated. The district says a substitute is teaching the class right now, and a new full-time teacher will be hired as soon as possible.

The graphic novel was illustrated by David Polonsky, who has defended his work from accusations of inappropriate content. He said the book was commissioned by the Switzerland-based Anne Frank Foundation, which holds the copyright to Frank’s work. However, it hasn’t been approved by the Hamshire-Fannett ISD, and that’s what matters to US teachers.

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