Florida principal forced to resign after showing Michelangelo's 'David' to students
“It saddens me that my time here had to end this way."
If you ask most teachers why they went into education, they'll share that it had nothing to do with the money and everything to do with their passion for teaching. Even with rapid changes in curriculum and policies, teachers who remain in the classroom are lovers of education and are doing their best to help kids learn.
Hope Carrasquilla, the former principal of Florida's Tallahassee Classical School, was one of those teachers who simply enjoyed teaching. As the principal, Carrasquilla was required to teach two classes. During her sixth grade lesson about Renaissance art, which is also a requirement of the school, Carrasquilla showed a picture of Michelangelo's "David" statue.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, three parents complained about their children being shown the picture. Two of those parents were mostly upset that there wasn't sufficient notice given before the photo of the sculpture was shown. The third parent reportedly complained that the statue of the Biblical figure was pornographic.
Michelangelo's sculpture wasn't the only source of the complaint. It was essentially the entire lesson, which also included "The Creation of Adam," another Michelangelo piece, and Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." These are classic works of art that are easily recognizable by just about any layman, even if they can't name the artist.
"The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelocommons.wikimedia.org
Carrasquilla admitted that there was a bit of a kerfuffle with notifying parents of the lesson, which is a new policy implemented just two months ago. The policy requires that parents receive written notification two weeks prior to teaching potentially controversial content, according to The Independent.
Shortly after her lesson, Carrasquilla was called into an emergency school board meeting where she was forced to choose between resignation or being fired. She chose to resign, leaving the school less than a year after starting her tenure there.
While three parents were upset over the lesson, others were blindsided by the termination of the school principal. Carrie Boyd, who has a third and a seventh-grader at the school, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the principal's abrupt resignation was shocking to her and other parents. Boyd also voiced concerns over the "non-secular" direction the school appeared to be taking.
"The Birth of Venus "by Botticellien.wikipedia.org
Tallahassee Classical School is a private charter school that has only been open for three years and is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a private conservative college located in Michigan, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Barney Bishop, the school board chair, told HuffPost, "Parental rights trump everything else."
But it seems Carrasquilla is gaining support across the internet. Comments range from frustration to people comparing it to a "Simpson's" episode about censorship that remarkably also depicted the statue of "David."
"Heavens to Betsy, a body part depicted in one of the most famous pieces of art in all of history! What next?!?," David Weiss wrote.
Another commenter pointed out that the statue is in Animal Crossing, which is a video game that children play.
"David" by Michelangelocommons.wikimedia.org
The greatest confusion seemed to stem from classical artwork being considered controversial enough to require parental notification when the school markets itself as a "classical school" and Renaissance art is a requirement. Renaissance art isn't exactly known for its elaborate depiction of clothing; it's quite the opposite.
Surely, the ousted principal will find other employment, but for now, she and the rest of the internet are left feeling a bit flabbergasted by the seemingly drastic response to classical works of art.
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