Virginia School Pulls Diary of Anne Frank From Shelves After Objection to Sexual Explicit Reference

The Culpepper County Public Schools has become the latest addition to the dubious list of schools banning Anne Frank’s ‘Diary of a Young Girl.” The move to pull the books from all of the shelves in the county reportedly came after one parent found a passage to be sexually explicit.

The version of the book pulled from Culpepper schools is “The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition.” This version contains passages that were edited out by Frank’s father, including her criticism of Jews living in the Jewish quarter and some sexual references. The offensive passage is:

There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!

The book was assigned to eighth graders.

It is astonishing that a single parent can prompt a classic book to be pulled from shelves.
Jim Allen, director of instruction for the school system, views the whole matter as a wonderful reaffirmation of parental control: “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.” I am not so sure that I would point to banning a book as good parenting and good teaching.

These students are about to go to high school and are exposed to far more explicit references in their daily lives. Anyone who views The Diary of a Young Girl as soft porn is missing the point when you dig through all of the Holocaust material to find the reference to a feminine body part.

For the full story, click here.

40 thoughts on “Virginia School Pulls Diary of Anne Frank From Shelves After Objection to Sexual Explicit Reference

  1. OMG! Worse yet, some of the students in the class might actually have vaginas. And some may have been born out of vaginas. Maybe they should all be banned, too! And come to think of it, the name of the state itself is “Virginia”! Maybe it should be banned!

  2. As a native Virginian, I see a silver lining in this rather dark story. I find it very gratifying that at least one parent in Culpepper has finally read something that wasn’t in the cartoon section of the newspaper.

    Now, if they’d just get those graphic passages out of the Bible or ban it altogether. That Culpepper banner likely has never read this passage:

    “…and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.” (Ezekiel 23: 21, NRSV)

  3. I am gonna say it. But Alan if they aren’t made aware of the way baby’s are birthed, you know we could end up with an over abundance of Politicians and Attorneys. Think about the consequences

    mespo, There are two types of prostitute in the Bible. One, the regular kind for survival. The second, often called a “sacred” or “temple” prostitute, was a female or a male who had sex with worshipers of a god or goddess in a temple.

    Maybe, just maybe they should just ban the Bible as well….

  4. Teen pregnancies are now going up again. I think you can attribute it to these abstinence only people. I read this book in my catholic grade school along time ago. The nuns recommended it.

  5. Parental control? Guess this story is an indication of the inconsistencies across school boards.

    At my district, the kids aren’t taught about the Holocaust until high school. Then they are taught it is a theory that some people accept and others do not! I’m the lone wolf parent with zero control.

    I’d still like the NEA to come up with some ‘standardized’ programs for all school districts. I foresee my school district making it in the Race to the Top where 100% of the children believe the Holocaust is a theory. Give me a break!

  6. Simone B.,

    The problem with the NEA is it a union that has had a monopoly (GOP) thinking in the schools. Most of what has come out of title IX funding has been to bust the union not entitlement for the children that it is designed to serve.

    For a while I worked for an Education Association. I have seen single handedly how a Policy of a Governor intent on destroying the Union so that the Insurance Dollars can be opened up to there pet donors.

    The controlled liquor was privatized for a mere 26 million dollars about 10 years ago. Too bad I did not have 26 to spend. The first years return to the purchaser was over 54 million, not a bad investment.

  7. With parents like this, is it any wonder that we have to be the most sexually-repressed country in the world?

    I fear these kids are told that masturbation causes blindness, and you can get pregnant from a toilet seat, but anal sex protects your virginity.

  8. “Jim Allen, director of instruction for the school system, views the whole matter as a wonderful reaffirmation of parental control: “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.” I am not so sure that I would point to banning a book as good parenting and good teaching.”

    ****************

    So Jim Allen thinks it’s fine if the opinion of a single parent can be the deciding factor in whether or not an entire grade of students reads a particular book. Shouldn’t the parents who think the book is appropriate reading for their children have a say in the school district’s decision? If a parent objects to his/her child reading “The Diary of of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition”–let his/her child read another edition.

    I know libraries are supposed to have policies that they follow when a person challenges a book on their shelves. It sounds as if this school system didn’t follow any kind of policy in addressing the challenge made to this particular book that was on the district’s required reading list.

    ************

    From the Web site of the American Library Association:

    “A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice. The ALA promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”

    http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/index.cfm

  9. Personally I think 8th graders should be reading something else. They need to have a bit more understanding of how bad the NAZI Party was before they read the Diary of Anne Frank. I don’t think you can really appreciate that book until you understand the horror they perpetrated against humanity.

    It would be like reading Wuthering Heights without having been in love. A good story but what is the point?

    Heathcliff on socialism:

    “‘I seek no revenge on you,’ replied Heathcliff, less vehemently. . . Having levelled my palace, don’t erect a hovel and complacently admire your own charity in giving me that for a home. . .'”
    – Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Ch. 11

    How about some Greek Mythology or Treasure Island?

  10. Byron–

    Greek Mythology? Isn’t there a lot of sex and violence included in the myths?

    ************

    Children can learn a lot about life and about history from reading books. Children in 8th grade are at the right emotional level to relate to Anne Frank and to the story she tells. In addition, many teachers don’t have students read books like Frank’s without providing them with background knowledge. Young people will have a better understanding of what life was like under Nazi occupation from reading Frank’s book than from reading a history book.

  11. Elaine:

    that is good sex and violence, like a James Bond novel it is all gratuitous. :)

    Will it? Can you understand what Anne Frank was going through without having an understanding of the larger context? I think you need to have a greater understanding of the whole Nazi regime than you could get from any material that would be understood by an 8th grader.

    The larger theme of Anne Frank is the individuals relationship to the state when the state has devolved into an entity that has no respect for individuals. I think that may be a concept that is hard for an 8th grader to understand.

  12. Byron–

    My point about the sex and violence: Some parent would challenge the literature on that basis. While you may consider the S&V in myhology good–I’m sure there are many parents who would not.

    I read the Anne Frank book when I was about fourteen. It helped me to better understand what life was like for Jews under the Nazi regime. Maybe most thirteen-year-olds won’t comprehend the larger historical text fully–but they’ll get an in-depth feel for what life was like for Anne Frank and some understanding of life under Nazi occupation. Frank’s book is the kind of story that helps history come alive for kids.

    When I was teaching, we talked about something called “scaffolding”–teachers building up children’s knowledge of subjects by layers. It was a gradual process. We didn’t wait until they were seniors in high school and decide they were finally old enough and mature enough to fully understand and learn about Hitler, Nazis, and the Holocaust–or other difficult subjects–and start teaching such things from scratch.

  13. Gee, the Nazi’s banned books.

    The Nazi’s persecuted and murdered Anne Frank.

    And now the Culpepper School district is banning Anne Franks book.

    Small world.

  14. Elaine:

    I was joking about the Myths, I am sure some parent would have a problem with them.

    If I was the superintendent I would probably be afraid for my job in this climate. So I guess you cant blame him for putting a “spin” on it. All in all though, it was a mistake to give in to the forces of ignorance and mysticism.

    I am glad I was not in that position. Hopefully the person will be shunned in their community. Although I doubt it.

    Banning books is a very scary thing. Whenever I see the film of the Nazis and their night of burning books, it really bothers me on a very elemental level, and I am a conservative.

  15. You have a preference in where you wish to live, Ya? Then please live in your states of denials. Life would be better for you, if you knew nothing of the past.

    This was only a momentary displeasure for the benefit of many.

    I am advocating Free Speech for the Masses at Mass if you prefer.

    That is a Good job that you are doing Duh. You do keep gassed up.

  16. Byron–

    How do I know for sure you were kidding about S&V in myths? Do you remember the movie Dr. Strangelove? You COULD be some kind of “deviated prevert!”

    ************
    The Culpeper school system didn’t follow its own district’s policy.

    From another article about the removal of the Anne Farnk book:

    School system in Va. won’t teach version of Anne Frank book
    By Michael Alison Chandler
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Culpeper’s policy on “public complaints about learning resources” calls for complaints to be submitted in writing and for a review committee to research the materials and deliberate, Allen said. In this case, the policy was not followed. Allen said the parent registered the complaint orally, no review committee was created and a decision was made quickly by at least one school administrator. He said he is uncertain about the details because he was out of town.

    “The person came in, and the decision was made that day . . . and that’s fine. We would like to have had it in writing. It just did not happen,” Allen said.

    Hasty decisions to restrict access to some books do “a disservice to students,” said Angela Maycock, assistant director of the office for intellectual freedom at the American Library Association.

    “Something that one individual finds controversial or offensive or objectionable may be really valuable to other learners in that community,” she said.

    The ALA has documented only six challenges to “The Diary of Anne Frank” since it began monitoring formal written complaints to remove or restrict books in 1990. Most of the concerns were about sexually explicit material, Maycock said. One record dating to 1983 from an Alabama textbook committee said the book was “a real downer” and called for its rejection from schools.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012804001.html?g=0

  17. Guess this must be the “real America” Sarah Palin was talking about when she came to Virginia. Totalitarian governments have always embraced just one “true” book or set of books derived from it. Mein Kamph, Mao’s Little Red Book, Kapital, whatever crap Kim Jong-il dictates…The Bible… etc. So glad I live in an enlightened country like America where we can choose to read any of the books that have ever been written if we want to. Even Huckleberry Finn with all those pesky uses of “n” word or Romeo and Juliet with all that teenage sex going on.

  18. I agree with the suggestion that this parent’s kid should be assigned another book, another version of some oppressed person’s struggles, like Mein Kampf.

    Alternatively, just don’t allow the school library to let the kid check out the book.

    I wonder, if a parent complains about the ABSENCE of a book, do all the schools in the county immediately put it on the shelves?

  19. I first read Anne Frank at the age of 12, it was a Christmas gift from my very Catholic grandmother. I’ve lost count of how many times in my life I have read this classic, but most recenly I read it with my 12 year old son, my 14 year old son, and gave it as a gift to my niece when she was 13. Sexually explicit??? Not a chance! It’s a piece of literature that should continue to be passed down from generation to generation to educate the young about the horrors of the Holocaust. What better way to do this than through the eyes of a 13 year old girl?
    I am guessing that these parents would consider Judy Blume hard core porn, but allow their children to watch MTV!

  20. This director should be fired. I have to agree that one parent should not be able to stop an entire school district. Was this Parent a Republican Senator?

  21. That night I dreamed about Lisa. My dream went on and on. It started out when Lisa put her arm around me. Only in my dream she didn’t stop there. And Corky was in it too. She was sitting on the football field and Lisa kept saying, “You see, Corky… here’s what to do… to do… to do…”

  22. Anon Yours:
    I kind of got that part about the NEA when the great leader said over the summer “Money is Power.” Hmm, I always thought “knowledge was power.” But Heil NEA. I follow the reasoning “money is power. kids are money, etc.”

    Why do I keep thinking Animal Farm? I’m sure that’s been permantly banned! I mean what with the innuendo of the farmer putting the hair ribbons in the pretty girl horse’s mane and all. And then all the beer drinking the pigs do toward the end. GASP! What if a fragile young mind were to read something like that?

  23. You’ll also want to be removing “1984” and “Fahrenheit 451” from libraries as well.

    When good ideas and art are banned, only criminals will have good ideas and art.

    The Diary of Anne Frank?

    Sexually explicit?

    Canadian, Eh? is spot on to your sensibilities about Judy Blume.

    And you better cancel the library subscription to National Geographic while you book banning twits are at it. Heaven Forbid! The childrens might learn they were all born naked!

    Except for the Baby Jesus of course. He was born wearing an Armani swaddling cloth. Everyone knows this. Mary especially. (Can’t be read with enough sarcasm.)

  24. Naked???? We were born naked??? Shhhh… better be careful the book burners may start visiting sites like this and start adding them to the parental control locked sites!!
    tydf;)

  25. As a Limey I have to ask the question how old is an 8th grader? About the same age as Anne when she wrote her diaries perhaps?
    This is one book that should be compulsory in ALL secondary schools.

  26. I don’t think other adults have a right to impose vile things on other peoples kids.

    This book is at the public library and if people want to flash their own kids with such comments they are free to do so.

    It is unproven notion, spread around recently by the Guttmacher folks who aren’t very unbiased about their activities, that the recent spike of teenage pregnancy is because of the abstinence “movement”.

    The spike is most likely caused by the influx of immigrants, especially illegals. Hispanics, in particular, have a higher rate of child bearing, a higher rate of teen pregnancy (contributing more than any other group) and, oddly enough, a higher rate of abortions than whites.

    If the Guttmacher theory was correct (and I say it isn’t) then how do they explain that the incidence of black teen pregnancy has gone down in the time period they claim abstinence is causing the rise overall?

    This is a shameful effort by the Guttmacher people to smear the abstinence effort.

    Take out the Hispanic stats, and there there is barely any rise with a very slight rise among whites and reduction among blacks.

    Check out the facts here:

    http://www.vdare.com/thom/090316_births.htm

    And NO vdare is NOT a white supremacist organization despite the lies of the hate-mongers at the Southern Poverty Law Center. claim.

  27. VLF2112

    There is no evidence that sexual repression causes any problems you might find disagreeable. You are just spreading a myth or making stuff up.

    A contemporary of Freud(who developed the sexual repression theory you are likely referring to) name J.D. Unwin agreed with Freud too. Unwin was an anthropologist at Cambridge. He was not a religious man and had no interest in defending religion; but he was sure Freud was right that sexual repression led to psychological and social pathologies.

    So Unwin surveyed the major and minor civilizations (about 80 of them) throughout history and was very surprised that history showed just the opposite of what he believed (and what Freud believed). It was the most sexually strict civilizations that expanded and prospered and the most sexually “free” ones than shriveled,languished, or died.

    He became so convinced that this was an unquestionable historical fact, he suggested that the British people ought to have a select group of powerful couples in places of leadership who practiced monogamy and sexual fidelity so as to insure the vibrancy of the British people.

    If we are to learn from history or have any respect for evidence, I don’t think this is a lesson we should fail to understand.

    If we are to have any pride in our intelligence, I don’t think this is evidence we ought to ignore.

  28. Tootie, not all people consider the mere mention of a female body part a “vile thing.” It’s a part of human anatomy, nothing more. And as far as I’M concerned, sexually repressed “moralist” people DO contribute a great deal to the huge problem of teen pregnancy in America.

    All of that aside, I find it rather absurd that a classic book like The Diary of Anne Frank was removed from a school library just because one over-the-top parent had a personal objection to it.

  29. BYRON AND ELAINE: Your all wrong. Right b4 u read the diary of Anne Frank u take U.S history in which they go in depth(take up 2 quaters) about WW2 and the nazis.

  30. First, let me respond to Alan’s suggestion: “And come to think of it, the name of the state itself is “Virginia”! Maybe it should be banned!”

    Definitely, Alan, Virginia should be banned. It was not just a slave state but a slave-producing state. It had a horrible record thereafter of being the home of institutionalized bigotry, ignorance and corruption. It lives up to its reputation on a daily basis.

    OK, secondly: The Diary of Anne Frank is exactly what it purports to be. It is her diary. She lived. She died. She wrote down her thoughts and feelings. She was eloquent and courageous and she was precise and intelligent. Objecting to a paragraph of hers and therefore getting her book banned is an act not just of arrogance, ignorance and bullying, it is also an act of spiritual murder. This was a young girl. The book is her progeny, and the memorialization of her life, which was cut short because of arrogant, ignorant bullies. She described her vagina? Horror of Horrors! Why shouldn’t she? What part of her would make her want to ban her own reactions to the anatomy she was born with and that, if she were given a chance, she would have borne children with? And what would make people who want to understand who this girl was decide that what she wrote was taboo? Or that their own genital-free children should not understand this part of Anne Frank. Shame on them. Shame on that parent who got the book banned and shame on the school authorities who allowed this kind of behavior.

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