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Culpepper, Virginia – from – www2.starexponent.com- A version of an iconic autobiography detailing a young Jewish girl’s two-year experience hiding from Nazis in a cramped “Secret Annex” has been pulled from the shelves of Culpeper County Public Schools.
“The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition,” a vivid memoir of Anne Frank’s private thoughts during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, will no longer be assigned to CCPS students, according to Jim Allen, director of instruction for the school system.
This book is usually given to eighth-grade middle school English students to read.
Citing a parent’s concern over the sexual nature of the vagina passage in the definitive edition, Allen said school officials immediately chose to pull this version and use an alternative copy.
“What we have asked is that this particular edition will not be taught,” Allen said from his office Wednesday morning. “I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. So we listened to the parent and we pulled it.”
Apparently, Anne’s father, Otto Frank, the sole survivor of the “Secret Annex,” felt the need to censor his daughter’s most intimate thoughts as well, eliminating about 30 percent of the original diary published in 1947.
He omitted parts where Anne criticized her mother and other Jews living in the confined quarters as well as some sexually suggestive references.
However, during the 50th anniversary of her death in a concentration camp, the Anne Frank Foundation published the unedited definitive version in 1995.
Sometimes dubbed controversial, this book has been translated into more than 50 languages — an English version in 1952, and transformed into a play and several movie versions.
The diary, which Anne received on her 13th birthday, chronicles the teenager’s life from July 1942 until she was arrested in August 1944. It is considered the most widely read literary composition about Holocaust victims.
According to Allen, a teacher had already assigned the book in the fall and students had completed the assignment before the complaint was made.
“I’m happy when parents get involved with these things because it lets me know that they are really looking and have their kids’ best interest (in mind). And that’s where good parenting and good teaching comes in.”
The alternative version will be used for future assignments,
The process of pulling a book
According to the school division’s “public complaint about learning resources” policy, a review committee consisting of the school’s principal, library media specialist, teacher, complainant, parent and/or student usually convene to discuss this type of issue.
The committee’s responsibility is to read, view or listen to the challenged material, read several reviews, check standard selection aids, talk with knowledgeable people about the material in question, make and file a recommendation with the principal and superintendent and notify the complainant of the recommendation. The complainant has the right to appeal any decision.
Allen suggested teachers become more familiar with any reading material before issuing an assignment and described this situation as a “teachable moment.”
Asked about other “pulled material,” Allen said there’s no specific list that he’s aware of for educations to use as a refernce.
“I don’t think a list exists,” he added. “We just try to deal with everything on a case-by-case basis.”
Any pulled material, Allen said, is usually stored in the librarian’s office.
According to Amazon.com, “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” tops the list of commonly banned children’s books in public schools nationwide.
The reason listed for banning this book is “for being too depressing for students.” Other books that made the Amazon list include “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Harry Potter,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “Harriet the Spy,” to name a few.