Parents in Florida are raising concerns over classical art being taught in schools, with one principal losing her job due to complaints about Michelangelo’s David sculpture.
Crafted between 1501 and 1504, Michelangelo's marble sculpture of the Biblical figure David was originally commissioned for an Italian cathedral and now stands at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, parents of sixth-grade children at Tallahassee Classical School filed complaints over the 16th-century artwork, with one parent describing it as “pornographic.”
The former principal of the school, Hope Carrasquilla, said that the usual protocol is to send a letter to parents before classical artwork is shown to their children. However, due to miscommunications, the letter was not sent to the sixth-grade parents and one in particular was "point-blank upset."
Carrasquilla, who had been in the job for less than a year, said she was not surprised by the reaction from the school board chair, Barney Bishop.
Bishop emphasized that the incident was one of multiple issues with Carrasquilla but declined to provide details due to advice from the school’s employment lawyers. He also explained that he is lobbying for legislation to give parents more input into primary education.
“Parental rights trump everything else. They didn’t like the woke indoctrination that was going on."
Many ridiculed the school board's decision and called out a clear-cut case of censorship.
The Tallahassee Classical School is a public charter institution that focuses on classical learning, a teaching philosophy centered on a traditional Western liberal arts education aimed at imparting critical thinking skills. The school is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian institution that has helped set up public charter schools over the last decade.
By committing to combat the perceived "leftist" and "distorted" teachings of American history, including lessons on slavery presented in The New York Times' 1619 Project, Hillsdale College has generated funding for the charter school network.
According to Bishop, the school does not use pronouns, teach critical race theory, or mention The 1619 Project because "those are not appropriate subjects for our kids.”
Conservative groups in Florida and other areas have been advocating for greater control over primary education, asserting that parental rights should supersede other considerations.
By yielding to the demands of a few parents who found the classical artwork "pornographic," the school board has not only succumbed to a narrow-minded and ignorant perspective, but it has also set a dangerous precedent of catering to the whims of a vocal minority rather than upholding academic freedom and promoting critical thinking.