Anne Frank, a Nazi concentration camp victim and one of the most celebrated diarists the world has ever known, was roughly the age of an American seventh grader when she began keeping the journal that would make her a posthumous literary star.
Now, though, a Northville, Michigan, mother has filed a complaint because she believes that her seventh-grade daughter’s school should be required to seek permission from parents before assigning the unedited version of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.”
The book became part of the seventh-grade curriculum at Meads Mill Middle School this year, explains Northville Patch. The complaining mother, Gail Horalek, is not pleased as a result.
“The problem is the school is giving the seventh graders inappropriate material and not explaining it to the parents,” Horalek told Patch.
At a minimum, in Horalek’s view, officials at the school on the outer fringes of suburban Detroit should have sent a letter home to parents.
“If they watch any kind of movie with a swear word in it, I have to sign a permission slip,” she noted.
Horalek told Patch that her daughter had two books to choose from, and chose ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’
“I thought that was awesome,” she explained — or, at least, she thought it was awesome at first.
Horalek’s daughter began reading the book, which describes Frank’s experiences during the Holocaust and World War II as her family hid from the Nazis. About a week later, the seventh grader reported discomfort with the subject matter.
However, the gloom and gravity of the young Jewish girl’s prose apparently wasn’t the problem. Instead, according to Fox Detroit, it was this fairly graphic paragraph about female genitalia:
Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris.
Horalek talked to her daughter’s teacher, who agreed to allow the seventh grader to switch to the other — unnamed — book. The teacher also said that Horalek could file a formal complaint, which she did.
According to Fox Detroit, the concerned mother’s goal is to convince the school district to assign an edited version of the book, which presumably does not contain the offending section.