Sunday, October 01, 2006
Venus, David & Co.
There is so much going on in the world that is more important, but these types of issues still make me boiling made as well. I had heard this on the radio and then,Friday at work, read about it in the New York Times. It is simply at outrage. What is a good teacher to do anymore??
By all accounts Sydney McGee, of Frisco Texas, was an excellent art teacher with a stellar record. She had 28 years experience. Now she finds herself suspended after a routine fieldtrip to the Dallas Musum of Art with her 5th grade art class.
It seems one of the students saw some nude art. What!! Nude art you say, why that is just unheard of and unacceptable. Don't they put coverings or parental warnings on that type of thing? Keep it in a separate room from the general public or wandering eye of a child. Well, obviously it is right out in the open because one of the children glimpsed something nude and went home and told their parents who called the school and objected to this type of thing and now Ms. McGee finds herself in this jam.
The field trip had all the proper pre-approval forms and permission. Principal and parental forms etc. Four other teachers and 12 accompanying parents. Not enough supervision eh? Thank goodness she is fighting this suspension!! Some parents are even calling for her to be fired!! What year is this? I used to worry about showing movies, taklking about constitutional rights and guns, death penalty etc., but never did we ever think twice about taking our kids to the art or the history museums. Remember represenations of cavemen wore little to no clothing.
The school district is claiming that the trip was,"poorly planned". Did they think that they could phone ahead and have certain items off limits? They had a docent leading the tour for crying out loud!! The Dallas news stations were even showing the art, on the evening news, with the body parts in question blacked out with those little boxes that they use for Spring Break news and topless girls at Mardi Gras. Unbelieveable. Is this what living in the Bible Belt has come to?
The principals statement was; "....students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations." The museum states that over the past decade more than half a million students have toured the museums 26,000 works without a single complaint. It's not like they have the Maplethorp exhibit or something that should cause an uproar. It is just basic classic pieces. Haven't any of these people ever had Art History in college? Haven't they read about a thing called The Renaissance?
Now her school board is actually trying to add other items to the reason for suspension, such as "she wore flip-flops to school." I can't even begin to tell you how many days I wore them to school when the weather allowed!! Her lawyers have obtained copies of all her evaluations and they all are exemplary. It was only after this trip that anything out of the ordinary was said about her job performance.
Retracing the route that was taken by the students there were busts and sculptures by Rodin and Aristide Maillol. We need to cover these?
When you are in the 5th grade it is funny and silly to see nudity, no big deal, but it seems that the parents are the ones with the hang-ups and making the big deal here. It is sad for their child. Sad that this teacher may loose her job over this field trip. Sad that they are going to raise a child that will be oblivious to all the great art of the centuries. Sad that they will probably raise a child with opinions just like theirs.