A lot of people don’t seem to realize that there are two versions of Anne Frank’s diary. There is the standard edition, which most people are familiar with, and a more recent “Definitive Edition” which has significantly more content. Removed from the first edition were passages where Anne talks badly about her mother and the other people she is hiding with, and a lot of stuff about Anne discovering her sexuality. Now a school in Virginia is refusing to teach the more “explicit” version.
Allen said that the more recent version will remain in the school library and that the earlier version will be used in classes. The 1955 play based on Frank’s experiences also has been a part of the eighth-grade curriculum for many years. The diary’s “universal theme, that there is good in everyone, resonates with these kids,” Allen said.
The decision was made in November and published in the Culpeper Star Exponent on Thursday.
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.