The unedited edition of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' was put under review by a Michigan school district after a mother raised concerns about its use in a seventh-grade classroom.
As previously reported by Monitor writer Husna Haq, a mother in the Northville school district asked that an unabridged version of the diary – which was written while Frank was in hiding with her family during the Holocaust – be removed from her daughter's middle school. The parent, Gail Horacek, objected to passages in which Frank discusses female body parts. She requested that an abridged version of the diary – which does not include such passages – be used instead.
However, school officials ultimately decided that the unabridged version would remain in classrooms.
Robert Behnke, the assistant superintendent for instructional services, wrote in a letter to the community that taking out the book “would effectively impose situational censorship by eliminating the opportunity for the deeper study afforded by this edition.”
Behnke also wrote that if a parent objects to a certain reading selection, the school is always willing to discuss alternatives.
“As always, in the event that a concern surfaces during a unit and is brought to the teacher’s attention, adjustments can be made to move the student to another literature selection and/or an alternative assignments can be discussed,” he wrote, according to an article for the Observer and Eccentric newspapers, which are based in Detroit.
Horacek told Detroit’s Fox affiliate that she felt the sections where Frank discussed her body were “pretty pornographic.”
“It's inappropriate for a teacher to be giving this material out to the kids when it's really the parents' job to give the students this information,” she said. “It doesn't mean my child is sheltered, it doesn't mean I live in a bubble, and it doesn't mean I'm trying to ban books.”
“The Diary of Anne Frank” has been the subject of complaints before, with the American Library Association reporting several objections by parents to the book over the last 20 years.