Anne Frank graphic novel to be reinstated in Texas school district following controversy

Keller School district confirmed that books including the Anne Frank diary adaptation and the Bible had been returned


A Texas school district will restore a graphic novel edition of Anne Frank's Diary to its classrooms following protests against orders to remove it.

The version of the famous Holocaust memoir, by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman and illustrator David Polonsky, was first published in 2019.

It was adapted from Frank's unabridged journal, which contains sexual references and mentions of homosexuality.

The book was removed from classrooms in the Texas school district after administrators ordered that removal of all books that had drawn parental complaints in the previous academic year, which included the Anne Frank adaptation and the Bible.

Following the uproar over the decision, earlier this week Superintendent Rick Westfall of the Keller Independent School District said the adaptation would return to shelves "very soon".

Superintendent Westfall previously told parents and employees in the district that they are "not banning the Bible or the Diary of Anne Frank, as has been suggested in some headlines and shared on social media", calling it a "miscommunication".

He noted that only the illustrated version of Anne Frank's diary had been removed, not copies of the diary itself.

The district informed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this week that that graphic novel, along with the Bible and a children’s graphic novel would be returned to schools as of Friday.

The decision was reversed during a heated board meeting on Monday evening in which one parent read aloud from the text.

The district has also made changes to its list of books that have been challenged by parents, reflecting which texts are to be reinstated.

Last week the Keller School District in Texas forwarded staff a request to remove all books that had been challenged by parents by the end of the day, part of a long-running battle over educational materials in the US state.

The decision prompted protest from a range of Jewish groups, with the American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, and head of the Anti-Defamation League Simon Greenblatt vocalising their opposition.

Groups opposing the ban, including the kosher meat provider Abeles & Heymann, had even threatened to mail copies of the text to the school district in defiance of the removal.

Seth Leavitt, the CEO of the New Jersey-based firm, said in a statement on Monday: “Antisemitism and Holocaust denial take many forms. Removing a book that tells the true story of a Jewish girl who was killed by Nazis is one of them. I’m sending these books so that the people of Keller, Texas have the opportunity to read her story. We cannot erase history.”

Meanwhile, the president of the school district board, Charles Randklev, has accused the media of doing a “terrible job” of covering the controversy.

“For the record, Keller ISD is not banning the Bible or Anne Frank,” Randklev stressed earlier this week, arguing that the decision to remove the book had been taken in order, “to protect our children from pornographic material."

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