The story is just sad in every way, shape and form. Sydney McGee, a 28-year veteran teacher from Frisco, Texas, whose art program apparently was one of the major selling points of the Fischer Elementary school, has been effectively fired by the school board when the parents of a 5th grader protested after their child saw — gasp! — nude art on an art class field trip to that den of sin, the Dallas Museum of Art. More details here.
5th graders saw nude art. They’re, what, going on 12 years old? C’mon, you’re kidding, right? How are they supposed to grow into mature, competent and functional adults if, at the age of 12 they’re considered too vulnerable too view a sculpture of a naked body? Texas parents a little repressed, perhaps?
Of course, this is the same US of A where ex Attorney General John Ashcroft, born-again wingnut supreme, decided to spend $8,000 to cover the breasts of the statue “Spirit of Justice” in the Justice Department.
According to the ongoing discussions of the matter, McGee is a “quirky and eccentric” art teacher. Maybe that’s the real issue here: is art just too funky for Texas? Check out Rick Reedy, superintendent for the Frisco Independent School District, who vetoed McGee’s request to be transferred to another school, effectively terminating her career as a teacher. Dr. Reedy certainly has some interesting priorities. On Veterans Day last year, he went out of his way to ensure that the kids at the schools in his district learned the fine art of folding flags and singing patriotic songs.
Dr. Rick Reedy, Frisco Independent School District superintendent, addressed the veterans and quoted from one of his favorite songs, “I’m Proud to be an American” by singing artist Lee Greenwood. He noted that like the song he would be proud to stand beside the many veterans at the event who had defended our nation. He also said that he discovered at the event that David Boles, former Smith principal and now Personnel Coordinator for the district, was a former marine. Reedy noted that the Marines offered “good training for principals.”
So, let’s recap Dr. Reedy’s approach to education: Marines? Good training for principals. Art and culture for kids? Not so much. I can see how he and his drill instructor/principals might be eager to get rid of an eccentric art teacher who would teach kids about dangerous stuff like free expression and spontaneity…
Oh, and yes, that’s Michelangelo’s David up above, his dick showing and everything. And we’re supposed to be outraged and appaled and shield our children from this why, exactly? Just as our Preznit (from Texas), we have to ask “Is our children learning?” If McGee’s case is anything to go by, they’re mostly learning to shut up, toe the line, and stick to the script. Nice.