In the latest assault on cultural norms in Florida, a Tallahassee charter school principal resigned, following accusations that middle school students were shown inappropriate adult content.
What was the alleged “pornography” in question? The students were shown images of Michelangelo’s “David”. Complaints were made by some parents that the children had been shown pornographic material.
Tallahassee Classical School, a private institution focused on “training the minds and improving the hearts of young people through a content-rich classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue,” gave its principal an ultimatum to quit or be fired after three parents complained, according to reports by the Tallahassee Democrat.
The irony of the school’s name and its mission cannot be overlooked. A Classical School that considers Renaissance art “pornography”?
The “David” is perhaps one of the most recognizable works of art in the world, depicting biblical hero David, of the famous David and Goliath tale, holding his sling in the nude. The statue itself is currently on display in Florence’s Galleria dell’ Accademia, the image is shown in most—if not all—courses in art history.
Florida, under the increasing onslaught against what Governor Ron DeSantis calls “woke ideology,” is seeking to redefine classical art such as this as pornography.
Principal Hope Carrasquilla, according to the Democrat, resigned Monday after the school board chair told her to resign or be fired. Chair Barney Bishop confirmed to the Democrat that he gave Carrasquilla that ultimatum, but would not explain why due to “advice” from the school’s attorney. Parents were informed by email on Monday.
According to further reporting on the topic by the Huffington Post, the issue, at least in part, was that a protocol to inform parents in advance of showing similar types of art work was not sent out to sixth-grade parents before the lesson, due to “miscommunications.”
Bishop told the Tallahassee Democrat that the notification policy at Tallahassee Classical was relatively recent, and required a parental notification two weeks before “potentially controversial” materials are shown.
Speaking with HuffPost, Bishop said that the sculpture issue was “one of multiple,” involving Carrasquilla. He also told the news organization that he was lobbying for legislation to give parents even more control over students’ primary education, saying that “parental rights trump everything else,” and saying that the parents who complained “didn’t like the woke indoctrination that was going on.”
Parental rights, as related to Florida education and curriculum, has become increasingly politicized over the past several years, with public debate and argument on the topic headlining multiple news stories related to teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity, COVID-19 masking policies, and critical race theory, among others.
Indeed, the battle has paid off for conservative Republicans as the House passed GOP-sponsored legislation on Friday aimed at providing parents with more information about their children’s education, strengthening the congressional Republicans’ incursion into culture war battles taking place across the country over what is being taught in public schools. Lawmakers approved the bill in a 213-208 vote after voting on several amendments.
The Parents Bill of Rights Act would require public school districts to publicly post information about curricula for students, including providing parents with a list of books and reading materials available in school libraries. After this GOP victory, there will probably be even more cases like the present one, where the parents dictate all aspects of the curriculum and make decisions as to what is appropriate cultural content, ushering in an unprecedented era of censorship of art and the banning of books.
State officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, have prioritized changing Florida laws and educational curriculum to remove so-called indoctrination at every level of education. The move to redefine Renaissance art as pornography across Florida and other largely Republican states threatens the very foundation of post-Renaissance “Western civilization” and its definition of culture.
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