I heard this story on JB&Sandy this morning. Looks like it happened a few weeks ago, but it just really got under my skin. I mean, heaven forbid our children be exposed to art...whether or not nudity is involved. It's not like she took a kindergarten class...they were fifth graders! When I was in fifth grade this would not have been an issue. Would we have giggled about the nude statues? Sure! Would we have gone home complaining to our parents about it? No! Would our parents have allowed us to go to an art museum if they had concerns about such things? No! That's what permission slips are for!
from the Dallas Morning News
Teacher: Reprisals began after field trip
Frisco ISD: 5th-graders saw nude art; board supports principal
07:38 AM CDT on Thursday, August 24, 2006
By KAREN AYRES / The Dallas Morning News
FRISCO – A veteran Frisco art teacher says school administrators have retaliated against her because a student reportedly saw a nude sculpture during a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art.
District officials say they are supporting a principal who reprimanded Sydney McGee over the field trip and other performance issues.
At Ms. McGee's request, the situation was aired in public during a school board meeting Monday.
The school board rejected a request that would have allowed Ms. McGee to transfer to another school.
Ms. McGee told the board that the principal of Fisher Elementary School criticized her performance and threatened her job after a parent complained about the April field trip.
Ms. McGee's attorney, Daniel Ortiz, said she didn't receive any negative reports until shortly after the field trip.
"This case is about censorship. ... It's about retaliation front and center," Mr. Ortiz told the board.
Ms. McGee, who has taught in various Texas districts for 28 years, said she visited the museum and spoke with museum staffers before the trip to ensure that it was appropriate for the fifth-grade class. Ms. McGee said she does not know which piece of art offended the parent, and the district did not identify it.
Ms. McGee said principal Nancy Lawson called her into a meeting the day after the trip to admonish her about the parent's complaint. Shortly thereafter, she received a negative review and a series of directives about displaying student artwork and creating lesson plans.
"You have to start somewhere when you've seen things you don't believe are in the best interest of the students," Superintendent Rick Reedy said.
In a memo to Ms. McGee, Ms. Lawson wrote that students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations during the trip. Ms. Lawson said she received complaints from parents and other teachers about the trip.
Ms. McGee said Monday that she was afraid of being fired. Ms. Lawson told the board that she planned to have Ms. McGee return to Fisher this fall.
Ms. McGee said she sought to resolve the issue by requesting a transfer.
"There was such hostility, I didn't feel like that was a good environment," she said.
That grievance and another transfer request were rejected by administrators. The school board unanimously upheld those decisions Monday night.
Some board members said it appeared that Ms. Lawson was trying to improve the art teacher's performance and should be allowed to do so.
"It is a principal's job and their duty and responsibility to give directives to the people who work for them, and I don't want to circumvent that process," board president Buddy Minett said.
Board members said there were other performance issues in question beyond the trip complaint.
But Ms. McGee and her attorney said there is a clear connection.
"She made a great effort to see to it that the April 26 field trip was in fact a big success," Mr. Ortiz said. "Apparently one parent complained, and that changed Sydney's work."