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Heaven forbid students see nudity in an art museum... - Jen Gagne's art journal I keep a separate journal for personal stuff. Visit: [http://jengagne.livejournal.com/]

September 26th, 2006
11:48 am
[jengagne]

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Heaven forbid students see nudity in an art museum...
(Edited later to add: Heh. One of my fave web comics, PvP, summarized this ridiculousness in today's comic. Warning, depicts art penis!)

I try to avoid ranting in this journal, but this is important. Thanks to tangsm for the heads up. She linked to a short article, but here's a more verbose one...

Naked art gets teacher in trouble
"After the trip, some parents complained to Fisher Elementary's principal because their children saw nude sculptures and paintings during the field trip... which was school approved and had parental signoff."

From what I've read in other articles, the school is claiming there were performance concerns even before the trip, but she had 28 years of great performance reviews right up until this trip.

Considering she had visited the museum ahead of time and talked to museum staffers, who all thought their public exhibits would be appropriate for fifth-graders... got school and parental permission... and yet the school blames it on her when a parent complains, then scurries to defensively document "previously existing" performance issues? That's just wrong.

The teacher is publically protesting how the principal has handled this since then. The school has taken her out of the classroom entirely. The school board supports the principal and refused to let her transfer to another school. Now they won't renew her contract. There goes a 28-year career down the toilet.

It's a tangled situation but at least one thing is clear to me: the school district should be reasserting that art field trips are a good thing. They're not doing so, and that has a major chilling effect on educators and particularly art educators.

This kind of crap is why I decided against being an art teacher in a public school.

(Well, that and how the school system works according to teachers I know and my own experiences... In no other industry can one disgruntled customer so easily ruin a gloriously underpaid career. Fiendish kids game the system with their parents' help to repeatedly get away with assaulting teachers and other students. Etc.)

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From:ex_evil
Date:September 26th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Well I guess there's a reason why Texas is dead last in education.
I'm completely disgusted, and I hope that woman sues the pants off that entire district. It's what I would do if it happened to me...but then again thats why I don't even bother trying to take kids on art field trips, half the time they wouldn't get approved anyway, they're not considered "educational" enough.
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From:jengagne
Date:September 26th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like both sides are gearing up for a legal battle, yeah.

I hear it's increasingly difficult to justify field trips, and what you're saying seems to match that.

It's sad that the kids miss out. We did all kinds of neat cultural and art-related things when I was in school... visiting the Kennedy Center for a tour of the facilities, the zoo, etc.

But, when schools are so afraid of controversy (The Natural History Museum mentions evolution? Oh noes!) that they'd rather the kids just miss out... arrrgh!

MY kids will luckily have parents with the time, interest, and money to take them to these sorts of things and play educational tour guide. Other kids don't get that chance though; it should be an excellent supplement to school, through school.
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From:rubialinda
Date:September 27th, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
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As a said before picture steam coming out of my ears. It really is scary from a teacher's point of view that just about anything can mess up a career in teacher. It takes one parent who is upset. Forget the years of experience or training to be a teacher. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
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From:jengagne
Date:September 27th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
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I worry for you and Kelly. A lot. o_o;
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