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“OH my giddy aunt!” I exclaimed after I read reports that Hope Carrasquilla, inset, had recently been forced to resign from her position of principal at Tallahassee Classical School for featuring an image of Michelangelo’s “pornographic” sculpture of David during a lesson.
Media across the globe seized on the story, and made the public school in Florida an international laughing stock.
Carrasquilla had been given the choice of resigning or being fired for neglecting to inform parents about the lesson’s content beforehand. Two parents reportedly complained, and a third said that the famous statue was “pornographic.”
Now it’s been revealed by The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) that although Tallahassee Classical is public, its curriculum:
Unwisely, is designed by Hillsdale College, a small sectarian Christian college far away in Michigan. The Tallahassee K-12 school touts its mission, ironically, as being a ‘content-rich classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.
The FFRF added:
Clearly, the 400-student school, which has operated for only three years, is intended to attract religiously conservative parents. Who else would assess the iconic, Renaissance-era marble nude statue depicting a biblical character as ‘porn’?
And FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor asked:
Why is a Michigan Christian institution providing the curriculum for a Florida public school anyway? You’d think we were living back in the Victoria era, when polite society couldn’t refer to chicken breasts or thighs and suggestive piano ‘legs’ might have to be covered (quick, fetch the smelling salts!).
The FFRF said the incident shows “the folly” of public schools partnering in any way with Hillsdale College, a 1,500-student campus in rural Michigan, whose espoused mission is to:
Maintain the immemorial teachings and practices of the Christian faith, protect religious and civil liberty and teach core tenets of Western civilization.
Meanwhile, the departed principal has become somewhat of a celebrity. CNN reports that the Mayor of Florence , Dario Nardella, has invited Carrasquilla to visit Italy.
Writing on Twitter he said he would “personally invite” the American educator to Florence, where the statue is located, to “give her recognition on behalf of the city,” adding that:
Art is civilization and whoever teaches it deserves respect.
Image courtesy Barney Bishop Consulting LLC
In a recent interview, Chair of the school’s board Barney Bishop III told CNN that Carrasquilla was given a choice between resigning or being terminated from her position because she had neglected to inform parents about the lesson’s content beforehand.
She was not let go because of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ lesson … We aren’t trying to ban the picture. We think it’s beautiful, but we are going to make sure the concept of parental rights is supreme in Florida and at our charter school.
In this Slate report, Barney the Buffoon, is quoted as saying:
This year, we made an egregious mistake. We didn’t send that notice. Look, we’re not a public school. We’re a public charter. Parents, after they saw all the crap that’s being taught in public schools during COVID, decided of their own that they didn’t want their children to be taught that.
Here we teach the Hillsdale Curriculum, focusing on civic and moral values. We teach a traditional, Western civilization, liberal classical education. And if there’s controversial topics or subjects, we tell parents in advance. We’re going to be sensitive to everybody at the school.
Men have penises. Get over it!
This prompted David Apatoff of Illustration Art to explode:
You can search the Thesaurus for a synonym for ‘moron’ but you’ll never find a word adequate to describe Barney Bishop III …
Sixth grade students at Tallahassee Classical School will not be protected from offensive Halloween costumes but they will have a ‘safe space’ to protect from the knowledge that males have a penis. There is no telling how many students have already been traumatized by this discovery.
The Wrestlers on trial for ‘homosexual obscenity’
A marble copy of The Wrestlers in the Uffizi Museum in Florence. Image via Wiki CC.
In the late 1960, when I was working as chief magistrates’ court reporter for The Star in Johannesburg, I stumbled on a case involving an elderly antique shop owner, who was charged with displaying a small reproduction of The Wrestlers in his shop window in an alleged contravention of the Publications and Entertainments Act of 1963.
The trial was sparked by a police officer who spotted the object and an promptly arrested the dealer for “a public display of homosexual obscenity.”
I made the front page with my initial report of the trial. And the subsequent acquittal of the dealer by a magistrate—who ruled that The Wrestlers was not pornographic—got front page treatment too.
The story took a fresh twist when the The Publications Control Board, realising that it had neglected to declare the statuette “obscene”, promptly banned it and all images pertaining to it.
At the time, I was writing a monthly column on censorship for an underground entertainment magazine, Time Out (no connection with the UK publication of the same name), and lambasted the censors for their latest act of lunacy.
The result: Time Out got banned, and I was warned by the local police that lampooning the The Publications Control Board constituted a “criminal offence.”
Hat tip: Barriejohn (David report).
You can also support my work via a one-off donation via PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or GofundMe.
If you spot any typos in this report please notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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