The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District just east of Houston announced that a teacher was dismissed for having her middle school students read an unapproved graphic novel version of Anne Frank’s diary in class.
District spokesman Mike Canizales released a statement on Sept. 15 alerting parents that a substitute instructor had been teaching the middle school class since two days earlier, when concerns were raised about the use of the unauthorized book, according to KFDM-TV in Beaumont, Texas.
Although earlier editions of the book depicting life under Nazi persecution have been a staple in middle school syllabi for decades, they typically were abridged, omitting the more sexually explicit passages of the original.
The book that caused the controversy at Hamshire-Fannett Middle School is artist Ari Folmon’s illustrated version of the Jewish teenager’s unabridged diary, titled “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,” according to NBC News.
The unabridged diary includes a section in which Frank proposes to a friend that they show each other their breasts.
It also contains descriptions of male and female genitalia.
WARNING: The following post contains graphic descriptions that some viewers may find offensive.
One restored entry that caused controversy, seen below, features Anne Frank discussing male and female genitalia.
The passage was reportedly read aloud by eighth graders at Hamshire-Fannett ISD, a school located south of Beaumont, Texas. pic.twitter.com/sfheK1F05x
— Chron (@chron) September 21, 2023
KFDM said the wording in the diary was “not suitable for broadcast.”
One parent, Amy Manuel, also expressed concern that her children were not just asked to read the book at home but also had to read it aloud in front of classmates.
Although district officials said they never approved the book for the syllabus, it was on the reading list sent home to parents at the beginning of the school year, the report said.
Because of this, the investigation into who exactly knew of the book’s inclusion in the curriculum continues, and parents want to ensure that the district handled the situation properly.
An unidentified source claiming to be close to the dismissed teacher contacted KFDM reporter Angel San Juan to say the principal at Hamshire-Fannett Middle School, Cynthia Jackson, was aware the teacher would be including the book in her class reading.
The source also said the teacher “has an attorney.”
When asked about the claim that she knew of the book’s planned use, Jackson referred San Juan to the district superintendent.
Asked by NBC News for a statement, Canizales also declined to comment.
He instead referred back to the email that the district had sent to parents on Sept. 15.
The email said, in part, “We appreciate your trust and partnership as we all work towards the common goal of safeguarding your child’s educational environment.”
“The District is currently in the process of posting the position [of middle school teacher] to secure a high-quality, full-time teacher as quickly as possible,” it said.
Frank’s diary was first published in 1947, two years after her death at age 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.