A US middle school teacher in Texas has been fired after reading an explicit passage from an adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary aloud to students.
Parents voiced their outrage after learning of the book's use in the Hamshire-Fannett Middle School’s curriculum.
‘Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation’ was reportedly on a reading list the Texas school sent out to parents at the start of the school year, though district officials claimed it had never been approved for classroom use.
In a graphic adaptation of the famed diary from 2018, Frank details her exploration of her own body parts and her sexuality while going through puberty.
The teacher had allegedly read portions of the diary aloud in class and assigned it for students to read.
A page from the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank's diary (Photo: Penguin Random House)
Amy Manuel, a Hamshire-Fannett parent, said her twin eighth-grade sons told her about what the teacher was doing in class with the book. Speaking to local news outlet KDFM, she said: "It's bad enough she's having them read this for an assignment, but then she also is making them read it aloud.
"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."
In the 2018 book, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, a passage dated March 24, 1944, depicts Anne describing male and female genitalia, including descriptions of “the clitoris” and pubic hair.
The passage comes immediately after a passage describing “the sound of gunfire” as Nazi soldiers attacked Allied forces parachuting out of a crashing plane.
Anne also mentions wanting to kiss her female friend Jacque and asking her friend if they could show each other their breasts in another part of the book.
Page from the book which references Anne's desire to kiss her friend Jacque and genitalia (Photo: Pantheon)
A caption alongside a picture of Anne who is skipping through a row of naked statutes of woman read: “If only I had a girlfriend.”
The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District said in an email sent to parents last week: "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.
“HFISD has provided a quality, engaging education to all students in the past and will continue to strive for the same in the present and future."
Hamshire-Fannett representative Mike Canizales said they plan to provide additional measures to ensure the appropriateness of content disseminated to students.
He added: “The district is currently in the process of posting to secure a high-quality, full-time teacher as quickly as possible.”
It comes after the graphic adaptation of the diary was reinstated in the Keller Independent School District in Tarrant County, Texas after protests about it's ban by a range of Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The book was originally removed from library shelves after school administrators ordered the removal of all books that had drawn parental complaints in the previous academic year.
However, The Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation that oversees the copyright to Frank’s diary and authorised the new graphic adaptation, has previously defended the work.
Board member Yves Kugelmann told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “We consider the book of a 12-year-old girl to be appropriate reading for her peers.”
Frank, who is Jewish, was discovered by Hitler’s Nazi forces in 1944 and died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp the following year. The house where she hid with her family from the Nazis is now a museum.