Utah Teacher Fired After Showing Students Art

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AlwaysAttend, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    318

    Jan 1, 2018

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5221729/Utah-teacher-fired-students-nudity-art.html

    I found the article to be a painful reminder of how backwards, hypocritical, and small-minded Americans tend to be.

    The same little angels who make soft porn musical.ly videos will affect shock and trauma if it gains them attention, and their absentee parents will make priggish demands for "justice" if doing so gains them a sense of power over their betters.

    I know the players involved. I've seen their ilk a thousand times.

    I hope the teacher is able to secure a crushing, massive payout by way of his lawsuit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    Peregrin5, anon55 and AlwaysAttend like this.
  2. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,563

    Jan 1, 2018

    As a Utahn who used to live near this area and am still with an hour's drive of this town, trust me, all online news comments are completely on the teacher's side and find the whole matter ridicilous. Also wondering why the librarian didn't check the procured materials.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,872
    Likes Received:
    1,076

    Jan 1, 2018

    At my school you can write up students in between classes. That’s where the majority of my write-ups occur. For example, I’m walking along and I hear from a male student “Hey futuremathsprof, those pants look REALLY good on you in all the right places” and then he waggles his eyebrows... I’ve also had to write up another student up for flicking my nipple suggestively twice.

    Yeah, I’m not going to let that kind of moronic nonsense fly.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  4. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    318

    Jan 1, 2018

    There was nothing wrong with the images, and everything wrong with the negative reactions to fine art of historic consequence.

    Shredding them is akin to dancing around a bonfire on the front yard like savages. Right up there with book and witch burners
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,428
    Likes Received:
    2,337

    Jan 1, 2018

    OK, I work with troubled teens, and they are graffiti experts, but if I showed those pictures to them, my job would be on the line. And if I had been shown those images at grade 6, I would have felt uncomfortable. The one pose is meant to look beguiling and highly suggestive, and it is. The other is just a little too much whole body for that grade level, IMO. These are not nude statues, cold white marble, lacking skin tone, obvious hair color, and flushed cheeks. As far as shredding the images, I think that in the moment, it was pure desperation, to make them less liable, although since they bought them, that ship has sailed. The art teacher will get his day in court.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    Backroads likes this.
  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,020

    Jan 1, 2018

    I agree. I didn't realize you were being sexually harassed. In many ways, those offenders should be treated in the same way as the chair-throwers from the other thread.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,428
    Likes Received:
    2,337

    Jan 1, 2018

    And in the right environment, they are.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,855
    Likes Received:
    623

    Jan 1, 2018

    I wonder if they would want the Washington Monument pulled down because it looks phallic.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,428
    Likes Received:
    2,337

    Jan 1, 2018

    Fine art of historic consequence has a proper audience and preparation of what one is looking at and the significance. Not sure these elementary school students got that preparation or explanation. The shredding, though, is simply a knee jerk reaction to potential law suits.
     
    AmyMyNamey likes this.
  10. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,855
    Likes Received:
    623

    Jan 1, 2018

    Even in Utah, I do not think they could win a lawsuit.
     
  11. Guitart

    Guitart Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    35

    Jan 1, 2018

    One thing is cool - I had no idea Kylo Ren was an art teacher:)

    As an elementary art teacher this news bothers me. The internet makes this paranoia easily available to my small, rural district. All it takes is one parent to get the community "Footloose".

    I have 2 versions of art history books in my classroom. Neither are "perfect" if you live in a community that considers the Inquisition as a sensible act of cleansing. I have these old "Art for Children" series books :
    http://www.valerieslivinglibrary.com/artfor.htm
    I know the Michelangelo book sometimes gets giggles. Sadly, the Madonna and Child sculpture is usually the image. When I catch students sharing images and behaving this way I remind them that the artist did not intend for his work to be funny, naughty, or inappropriate. I also tell them we were all born not wearing any clothes and it was not a funny, naughty, or inappropriate. My teachable moment always silences the crowd. I brought home the Matisse book and the last page has a nude sculpture.

    The books that are more popular and modern, which I have a few, are these:
    https://gettingtoknow.com/
    The Mary Cassatt book contains gentle mother and child paintings, the kind you would see in a pediatricians office, but some images are barely clothed or naked children. The cover of the Botticelli book is.. well see for yourself.

    I hope this response by parents/communities does not spread. Regardless, I feel like I need to go back to school and discuss with my P.
     
    anon55 and AlwaysAttend like this.
  12. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    141

    Jan 1, 2018

    Maybe I am just dense when it comes to art; for those arguing that the painting is not inappropriate, what is the educational value of sixth graders looking at a picture of a naked person lying in bed? If a similar, actual photograph was portrayed today, would it not be classified as erotica?
     
  13. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,855
    Likes Received:
    623

    Jan 1, 2018

    Without proper context, anything could be inappropriate.

    I’m not an art teacher, so I can’t speak to the context of the lesson itself.

    If I was teaching a lesson based around a series of paintings where one happened to have nudity, I’d make sure there was a valid reason. Let’s say I was teaching women’s suffrage. While we beat kids over the head with, “women couldn’t vote”, do we speak to the inferiority showed toward women during that time? Let’s say the paintings were being displayed in order to determine womens place in society during that time. I could easily imagine one being a naked woman holding a child. If you just showed a Rockwell painting, it wouldn’t exactly tell the whole story. Would this not help shape student understanding?

    What about people in tribal civilizations? Should we invent clothing for them to wear when discussing mayan and aztec civilizations?

    The context of this is that the teacher never meant to include it. It was a mistake.
     
  14. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    141

    Jan 1, 2018

    The examples you mentioned would not be considered erotica. A naked person lying in bed with their rump in the air would be. To clarify, I am not arguing that it was a mistake; it clearly was.
     
    AlwaysAttend and Backroads like this.
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,563

    Jan 1, 2018

    Our point is if the materials were a problem, why did the school approve them by allowing them to be purchased?
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jan 1, 2018

    The librarian's job is not to censor materials. If it was otherwise school appropriate, then a bit of classical art canon with a little nudity is probably okay for a school library.

    When it comes to art, sometimes you just can't get around nudity. The Venus of Milos and the David are tremendously important and well-known sculptures with apparent nudity. Do we not teach about those things because we're afraid of some marble nipples?
     
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,563

    Jan 1, 2018

    It has nothing to do with censorship. It's about the madness of punishing a teacher for the actions of the school as whole. The school chose to purchase the cards-- the district looks like idiots firing one teacher.

    Own the materials or not. The general view from our area is just be consistent.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jan 1, 2018

    I agree, but I can also see the other side of the argument. Items available for self-selection in a library have a lot more freedom to be controversial in some way than items that are presented to a captive audience in a classroom. My school library has one particular book on the shelves that the ELA department is not permitted to read as a class novel. I don't agree with that policy in regards to that particular book, but I understand it in a broader sense. Not all books have the same literary or informational merit or purpose, so they don't all necessarily belong in a classroom setting as an instructional resource.
     
    Backroads and AlwaysAttend like this.
  19. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,563

    Jan 1, 2018

    A good perspective, but keep in mind the average population might not see it that way. We are just wondering why a teacher is fired over school library materials.
     
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,872
    Likes Received:
    1,076

    Jan 1, 2018

    Lol, that last sentence made me lose it.
     
  21. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    255

    Jan 1, 2018

    I AGRee at the teacher should have done due diligence by filtering the photos before showing them, but the school is also as much responsible by having the material available for teachers to use.
     
  22. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    155

    Jan 1, 2018

    Clearly that's well beyond just immaturity -- the second is actually assault.

    Still, I hope you have good coping mechanisms. Personally, I'm not sure I would find just writing people up sufficient in those situations.
     
  23. Guitart

    Guitart Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    35

    Jan 1, 2018

    I personally own these cards that I used once in class:
    http://www.professornoggin.com/games/10443-ART.shtml
    Note they advertise age 7+. There are several cards with "skin". When students started bringing these cards to my desk, to be on the safe side, I stopped using the whole box. Too bad because they are good learning materials.

    I know the teacher will need to rely on his union for legal support but If the teacher is a member of NAEA I wonder if this organization can assist him with his situation.
     
  24. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    318

    Jan 2, 2018

    I understand the point. My counterpoint is that there was nothing wrong with the images, there was nothing wrong with buying them, and there was nothing wrong with showing them to sixth graders. They should not have been destroyed. The teacher should not have been fired. The parents who complained should have been educated; if they insisted on remaining backwater troglodytes, then they should be ignored.

    I'm not a fan of deep-rooted hypocrisy. The ones who created this problem are making pretentious displays of righteousness. They are not the moral compass of humanity. Despite their protests, it is a far greater sin that larger society allow the wretched sensitivities of a select few to censor artwork of historic significance.

    The world is full of examples of runaway religious persecution. I suggest Americans think long and hard about where this road leads before bowing down before dogs.

    See here how American ignorance is again put on display for the rest of the world to ridicule:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5228189/Utah-art-teacher-fired-showing-nude-paintings.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  25. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    141

    Jan 2, 2018

    Since you argued, in your first paragraph here, that there was nothing wrong with the images, would you respond to my last question a few posts up? Given a picture, via any medium, of a naked person lying in bed and showing off their buttocks, what educational value is attained by presenting it to sixth graders? I certainly would not want my daughter having to analyze and write about such an image, which “Grand Odalisque” is.

    Furthermore, what evidence do you possess that the parents who complained were not educated?

    Following that, you lost credibility with everything after and including the “backwater troglodytes” comment.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  26. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,855
    Likes Received:
    623

    Jan 2, 2018

    I answered it. Who covers up such images? Misguided puritans. Who destroys such images? The Taliban.
     
  27. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    141

    Jan 2, 2018

    Do we all agree with the decisions made by the concerned parents, the principal, and the school board? No. Can we empathize with where each of them was coming from and possibly learn from it in the future if one of us is on either side of such a situation? I would hope so.

    Overly simplistic generalizations and name calling aimed at entire groups of people, I feel, does not do anything to advance the discussion.

    And the question about the educational value of sixth graders analyzing an erotic image such as “Grand Odalisque” has not been directly addressed by anybody.
     
  28. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,020

    Jan 2, 2018

    Why would it have any less educational value than any other piece of art?
     
  29. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,428
    Likes Received:
    2,337

    Jan 2, 2018

    It wouldn't, but is more of a matter of age appropriateness and viewing without serious study that puts the one piece more in question than the other, IMO. The sex kitten look is still a staple of the porn come on's that mysteriously show up uninvited on some computers I use. I'm no prude, but doubt that if this art teacher hadn't studied the cards in enough depth to know what was on them, he certainly hadn't taught this serious study presentation that would be educational.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  30. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    141

    Jan 2, 2018

    Okay, let’s play that game.

    Photography is an art form. Say a sixth grader is tasked with analyzing a photo of a person they found in a magazine. Would picking a racey photo from a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition be appropriate?

    Film is an art form. Say a sixth grader is tasked with analyzing a scene from a movie. Would a strip-tease seen from Magic Mike be appropriate?

    Say, for a cross-curricular project involving art and English class, a sixth grader must draw or paint a scene from a novel. Would a racey scene from Fifty Shades of Grey be appropriate?

    My point is that just because it is art does not mean it is universally appropriate.

    In writing these responses, I realize perhaps I should have previously used the phrase “educational appropriateness” as opposed to “educational value.”
     
    Backroads likes this.
  31. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,563

    Jan 2, 2018


    @AmyMyNamey


    Wow... seriously? Do you know anything about this community this school is in? You have some nerve speaking about a group of people you have never met. That city is actually part of a highly educated area that does need people like you jumping on the chance to lash out at an entire community.
     
  32. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,020

    Jan 2, 2018

    Yes, that makes more sense.
     
  33. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,563

    Jan 2, 2018

    And pretty much everyone here agrees with that. We just don't get why the school can't be on the same page all the way across.
     
  34. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,855
    Likes Received:
    623

    Jan 2, 2018

    Absolutely. Why can’t a 6th grade student analyze 2 photos (or more) from sports illustrated in order to comment on society’s idealism of body image. Comparing Ashley Graham and a thinner model. That would be an insight a 6th grader is capable of. I think the dumbing down of our expectations is more damaging to a 6th grader than a photo in a magazine they’d be allowed to purchase legally or a painting.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  35. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,428
    Likes Received:
    2,337

    Jan 2, 2018

    For what it is worth, the teacher made an error, which included not having prepped his lesson well enough to truly know what cards he was handing out. Is that grounds for dismissal? I suspect we would need to know more about his usual state of preparation, and not one of us here can speak with 100% accuracy to that single matter. I would hope that years of great prep could counteract a single mistake, and if that is the case, he may well prevail. It is certainly in the court of public opinion at this point, and I think his chance of winning legally is fairly decent, barring any skeletons in his closet that have yet to come out.
     
    Upsadaisy and Backroads like this.
  36. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    141

    Jan 2, 2018

    Okay, I could see the value in the example you presented. Regarding the appropriateness of a teacher distributing images of models posing in swimsuits, I would think not. It goes in line with Caesar’s post earlier about students being able to access certain books from the library even though the teachers cannot direct students as a whole to read those books.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  37. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,872
    Likes Received:
    1,076

    Jan 2, 2018

    Hahaha!
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jan 2, 2018

    I think where it gets dicey is when you have an art form whose racy style (or even simple nudity) is what defines and identifies it as a particular art form. Sometimes a given art form transcends what is age-appropriate. The ancient Greeks celebrated the perfection of the human body, so they glorified it in their art. If you're going to learn about the ancient Greeks, you're going to see some of their art, and most of their art is nude. When it comes to ancient art, nudity is the norm. Because of the influence of antiquity on Renaissance artists, you see the same thing with Renaissance art. The David is so significant that there really is no suitable substitute, and it's hard to justify an argument leaving the David out of lessons on Renaissance art, even if there is a bit of fairly candid dong.

    Now, certainly, I think that, say, erotica as an art isn't appropriate for young children in a classroom setting. I don't know enough about the significance of the images at the heart of this particular issue to know whether they are the best representatives of their kind or if there might have been suitable alternatives.

    Having taught the Classics for many years, I was often faced with this philosophical struggle. I wanted my students to get a full, broad picture of antiquity, but I also wanted to avoid getting myself fired over nudity. For me, the best choice was to simply avoid any kind of direct reference to nude artwork, just because it wasn't worth the hassle of having to justify anything to anybody. Let me tell you that it was often a struggle, especially during certain lessons. When we were learning about the gods, any quick google for Venus shows the Aphrodite of Milos and the Birth of Venus, both of which are suggestive. It's next to impossible to censor that stuff for my curious students, but I did feel that not censoring was not the same as direct instruction where I'd have to project a giant topless (and armless) statue onto the screen.

    My philosophical views on this topic are pretty much that we should be able to teach these topics in the classroom, that nudity in art is not the same as pornography, and that some art has remained relevant and significant even when it makes some people uncomfortable. My practical views on this topic are that teachers should really think about what they're doing in the classroom, and they should ask themselves whether certain battles are worth fighting right here and right now. In this case it sounds like the teacher wasn't really prepared to fight a battle--rather, he was just a little lazy and didn't prepare correctly, which is really unfortunate for him. In the end, I don't think that any student has been irreversibly harmed by his actions, and I think that, unless he's got some sort of track record of other questionable choices, this probably shouldn't be a career-destroyer for him. It should be a great lesson to everyone else, though, to be mindful of everything that happens in your classroom and to be prepared to be able to justify every one of those things. All our teaching should be deliberate and intentional.
     
  39. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,223
    Likes Received:
    1,157

    Jan 4, 2018

    I truly hope you followed up with admin to ascertain that these two incidents were dealt with appropriately (additionally, everything should've been logged in the student discipline system and parents contacted in writing and by phone).

    As an administrator, I can wholeheartedly say that these types of things should be taken incredibly seriously.
     
    Joyful! and futuremathsprof like this.
  40. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    318

    Jan 4, 2018

    LOL.

    I've lost credibility with someone willing to equate Sports Illustrated with a Boucher? Oh, my....
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Obadiah,
  2. Missy
Total: 482 (members: 4, guests: 464, robots: 14)
test