The Diary of Anne Frank — a young Jewish girl who recorded her thoughts and life while spending two years hiding in the annex of an Amsterdam home during the Holocaust — has been upheld as a first-person account of a horrible but important history.
The diary is commonly found in middle school curricula alongside teachings of the Holocaust. Tens of millions have read it. However, according to reports by KFDM6 in Beaumont, Texas, an unnamed teacher from the state has been fired after assigning their class to read Ari Folman and David Polonsky's graphic novel adaptation.
Parents purportedly objected to the assignment, People recounts, as there are scenes in the adaptation that have been omitted in some versions of The Diary of a Young Girl. Included is a moment where Anne walks by nude statues in a park, and another where she recounts a conversation with a female friend, during which she asks about showing each other their breasts, AP News previously reported.
The response online has been boisterous. Though some scenes may contain suggestive content, many don't feel the reading is inappropriate for an eighth-grade class. "Anne Frank was 13 when she got this diary and started writing about her life. Kids the same age should be able to read it today," one Twitter user wrote.
Anne Frank was 13 when she got this diary and started writing about her life. Kids the same age should be able to read it today. https://t.co/cgPz4vNfSs
— Christopher Pepper (He/Him) (@mrhealthteacher) September 20, 2023
And many commenting on the situation certainly don't believe a teacher should be fired over teaching history. "Teachers getting fired for doing their job and trying to properly educate their students is outragerous [sic]," someone said. "Society reaches a new level of absurdity every day."
Teachers getting fired for doing their job and trying to properly educate their students is outrageous. Society reaches a new level of absurdity every day.
— I have so many questions? (@english_shamar) September 19, 2023
This especially reigned true for those considering how few, willing teachers there are. "We're experiencing a massive teacher shortage," this person added, "But yes, fire the ones that are actually doing their job."
we’re experiencing a massive teacher shortage, but yes, fire the ones that are actually doing their job 👍🏾 https://t.co/MNrQ29wEut
— miss all sunday 🏾🏾🍃 (@heroinej__) September 19, 2023
Earlier this year, teachers expressed concern and confusion when considering how they were going to educate their students amid new laws that restricted fact-based learning about African-American history and practically banned AP Psychology by prohibiting lessons involving sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida.
Now, concerned netizens worry that school districts are standing in the way of their own students' learning. "History, right or wrong, should never be forgotten," a user tweeted in reference to the cause of the teacher's removal. "Our children need to be taught both the great achievements and the terrible atrocities. We as the human race doom ourselves to repeating the past if we allow it to be forgotten."
History, right or wrong, should never be forgotten. Our children need to be taught both the great achievements, and the terrible atrocities. We as the human race doom ourselves to repeating the past if we allow it to be forgotten.
— Erik Roth (@ErikSRoth) September 19, 2023
"Censorship," another concluded, "is never the solution."
Censorship is never the solution.
— Evin Ashley Erdoğdu (@AshleyEvin) September 20, 2023
HuffPost reached out to the Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District for comment, and were sent the following emailed statement provided to parents: “As you may be aware, following concerns regarding curricular selections in your student’s reading class, a substitute teacher has been facilitating the class since Wednesday, September 13, 2023."
"The District is currently in the process of posting the position to secure a high-quality, full-time teacher as quickly as possible. During this period of transition, our administrators and curriculum team will provide heightened support and monitoring in the reading class to ensure continuity in instruction."