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22 Sep, 2023 19:04

Texas teacher fired over Anne Frank graphic novel

The move is a “political attack on truth,” a US education official said
Texas teacher fired over Anne Frank graphic novel

A teacher in Texas has been fired after assigning eighth-grade students an illustrated novel adaptation of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ containing sexual content that had not been approved as part of the curriculum by the school district.

The unnamed teacher was removed from the Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District on September 14, according to an initial report by local outlet KDFM. Education officials later notified parents in an email that the content, which they say had not been approved, will no longer be distributed to children.

“The reading of that content will cease immediately,” the email read, according to KDFM. “Your student’s teacher will communicate her apologies to you and your students soon, as she has expressed those apologies to us.”

The original ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ recounts the attempts of the 13-year-old girl and her family to evade detection in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. It is generally considered to be among the most important and historically significant literary reflections on World War II. It was published in 1947 – two years after Frank and sister died in a concentration camp.

Frank’s thoughts on her own sexuality, including her apparent attraction to women, are contained in early iterations of the book but were edited out of subsequent prints. These sections are maintained in the graphic novel and were part of the section assigned to the teacher’s students, KDFM said.

The unedited version of Frank’s diary has been withdrawn from schools in conservative states Texas and Florida amid complaints about its sexual content. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation in 2021 that restricts how certain subjects, including race and gender, can be taught in the classroom. The state has banned more than 400 books from its schools.

Ari Folman, the artist who helped to create ‘Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation’, said in an interview with NBC News he was “devastated” that a teacher had been fired for teaching children about the historical significance of Anne Frank.

However, Clay Robison of the Texas State Teachers Association told The Guardian that it was “troubling” to see literature that has been part of accepted curriculum for decades be restricted from students.

“No teacher should be fired for teaching the ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ to middle-school students,” Robison said, adding that “it is a political attack on truth. It’s not a woke agenda. It’s not a liberal agenda. It’s a truth agenda.”