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Re:Student gets zero for religious drawing

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  • Stephanie Cavallaro
    This poor student was the victim here and it is discouraging to hear how the art teacher handled this situation. How do the rest of you feel about this?
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 5, 2008
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      This poor student was the victim here and it is
      discouraging to hear how the art teacher handled this
      situation. How do the rest of you feel about this?


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    • Jeff Pridie
      Not totally knowing the intent or reasoning by the teacher for their decision I caution all to be objective. Was the teacher following district policy? Was
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 5, 2008
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        Not totally knowing the intent or reasoning by the
        teacher for their decision I caution all to be
        objective.

        Was the teacher following district policy? Was she
        consistent in her handling the matter with other
        students art work? Was she following policy and other
        teachers not?

        Now seeing the image and even if I did not I would
        have accepted the image as following the objectives of
        the assignment. It is a landscape with a perspective
        point of view. It is a surrealist style. The values
        are strong.

        This again is "political correctness" gone crazy. I
        feel sorry for the student who is caught up in all
        this. This raises a level of concern for all of us.
        We should all be checking what policies are in our
        school districts and see how they are in line with
        constitutional law and if there are concerns start
        raising discussion about it.

        Jeff (Minnesota)

        > This poor student was the victim here and it is
        > discouraging to hear how the art teacher handled
        > this
        > situation. How do the rest of you feel about this?
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        > month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.
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        >




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      • Jeff Pridie
        Not totally knowing the intent or reasoning by the teacher for their decision I caution all to be objective. Was the teacher following district policy? Was
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 5, 2008
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          Not totally knowing the intent or reasoning by the
          teacher for their decision I caution all to be
          objective.

          Was the teacher following district policy? Was she
          consistent in her handling the matter with other
          students art work? Was she following policy and other
          teachers not?

          Now seeing the image and even if I did not I would
          have accepted the image as following the objectives of
          the assignment. It is a landscape with a perspective
          point of view. It is a surrealist style. The values
          are strong.

          This again is "political correctness" gone crazy. I
          feel sorry for the student who is caught up in all
          this. This raises a level of concern for all of us.
          We should all be checking what policies are in our
          school districts and see how they are in line with
          constitutional law and if there are concerns start
          raising discussion about it.

          Jeff (Minnesota)

          > This poor student was the victim here and it is
          > discouraging to hear how the art teacher handled
          > this
          > situation. How do the rest of you feel about this?
          >
          >
          >
          >
          ____________________________________________________________________________________
          > You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one
          > month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.
          > http://tc.deals.yahoo.com/tc/blockbuster/text5.com
          >




          ____________________________________________________________________________________
          You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.
          http://tc.deals.yahoo.com/tc/blockbuster/text5.com
        • tmwillis72
          I have to say I disagree with the decision of the student receiving a zero. I feel we are supposed to be teaching students to express themselves through their
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 5, 2008
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            I have to say I disagree with the decision of the student receiving
            a zero. I feel we are supposed to be teaching students to express
            themselves through their art. That art is a way for them to connect
            with themselves and make sense of the world. By telling this student
            to remove something from his work that is about him teaches him that
            his views and feeling are not valid. After reading that the school
            has many different images that could be viewed as controversial and
            then they ask the student to remove his I think is unjust. We are
            supposed to be models of what we want our students to be. The school
            to me seems to be choosing for the students what is controversial.

            Just my thoughts

            Tammy


            In art_education@yahoogroups.com, "Ken" <kenroar@...> wrote:
            >
            > This article was in the national news on Tuesday. It's an
            interesting
            > story of art teacher vs student vs religion.
            >
            > Student Sues Wisconsin School After Getting a Zero for Religious
            Drawing
            >
            > Tuesday, April 01, 2008
            >
            > MADISON, Wis. — A Tomah High School student has filed a federal
            > lawsuit alleging his art teacher censored his drawing because it
            > featured a cross and a biblical reference.
            >
            > The lawsuit alleges other students were allowed to draw "demonic"
            > images and asks a judge to declare a class policy prohibiting
            religion
            > in art unconstitutional.
            >
            > "We hear so much today about tolerance," said David Cortman, an
            > attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal advocacy
            > group representing the student. "But where is the tolerance for
            > religious beliefs? The whole purpose of art is to reflect your own
            > personal experience. To tell a student his religious beliefs can
            > legally be censored sends the wrong message."
            >
            > Tomah School District Business Manager Greg Gaarder said the
            district
            > hadn't seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
            >
            > According to the lawsuit, the student's art teacher asked his
            class in
            > February to draw landscapes. The student, a senior identified in
            the
            > lawsuit by the initials A.P., added a cross and the words "John
            3:16 A
            > sign of love" in his drawing.
            >
            > His teacher, Julie Millin, asked him to remove the reference to the
            > Bible, saying students were making remarks about it. He refused,
            and
            > she gave him a zero on the project.
            >
            > Millin showed the student a policy for the class that prohibited
            any
            > violence, blood, sexual connotations or religious beliefs in
            artwork.
            > The lawsuit claims Millin told the boy he had signed away his
            > constitutional rights when he signed the policy at the beginning of
            > the semester.
            >
            > The boy tore the policy up in front of Millin, who kicked him out
            of
            > class. Later that day, assistant principal Cale Jackson told the
            boy
            > his religious expression infringed on other students' rights.
            >
            > Jackson told the boy, his stepfather and his pastor at a meeting a
            > week later that religious expression could be legally censored in
            > class assignments. Millin stated at the meeting the cross in the
            > drawing also infringed on other students' rights.
            >
            > The boy received two detentions for tearing up the policy. Jackson
            > referred questions about the lawsuit to Gaarder.
            >
            > Sometime after that meeting, the boy's metals teacher rejected his
            > idea to build a chain-mail cross, telling him it was religious and
            > could offend someone, the lawsuit claims. The boy decided in March
            to
            > shelve plans to make a pin with the words "pray" and "praise" on it
            > because he was afraid he'd get a zero for a grade.
            >
            > The lawsuit also alleges school officials allow other religious
            items
            > and artwork to be displayed on campus.
            >
            > A Buddha and Hindu figurines are on display in a social studies
            > classroom, the lawsuit claims, adding the teacher passionately
            teaches
            > Hindu principles to students.
            >
            > In addition, a replica of Michaelangelo's "The Creation of Man" is
            > displayed at the school's entrance, a picture of a six-limbed Hindu
            > deity is in the school's hallway and a drawing of a robed sorcerer
            > hangs on a hallway bulletin board.
            >
            > Drawings of Medusa, the Grim Reaper with a scythe and a being with
            a
            > horned head and protruding tongue hang in the art room and demonic
            > masks are displayed in the metals room, the lawsuit alleges.
            >
            > A.P. suffered unequal treatment because of his religion even though
            > student expression is protected by the First Amendment, according
            to
            > the lawsuit, which was filed Friday.
            >
            > "Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the
            schoolhouse
            > gate," the lawsuit said. "No compelling state interest exists to
            > justify the censorship of A.P.'s religious expression."
            >
          • julie
            last month i went to a symposium at my alma mater called On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, based on a fascinating book by the same title by
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 6, 2008
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              last month i went to a symposium at my alma mater called On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, based on a fascinating book by the same title by a very influential art theorist/historian from Chicago, named James Elkins, who was the keynote speaker at the conference.  in addition there were several other artists and theorists there to begin a dialogue abut the relationship between faith and contemporary art-making.  as i listened, it seemed to me that the obstacles between the two tend to come from the art world and not the Christians...it was the art world that seemed almost afraid to address Christianity...

              from the Elkins website: My concern here is the fact that serious talk about religion and spirituality is excluded from contemporary art, unless the art is in some way critical, ambivalent, or ironic, as in Andres Serrano's work. The famous counterexamples--the Rothko Chapel, Barnet Newman's religious work--only prove the case by their rarity. This book provides a brief history of the exclusion of religious discourse, and some contemporary examples of the clandestine existence of religious meaning.

              :-) julie t.
              southern california

              ‹(•¿•)›



            • wmvanhorn
              Re:Student gets zero for religious drawing Political correctedness may be carried too far sometimes but its purpose is about expressing beliefs that are
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 6, 2008
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                Re:Student gets zero for religious drawing

                Political correctedness may be carried too far sometimes but its
                purpose is about expressing beliefs that are directly hurtful to
                others. Showinng stereotypical portraits of a group of people (like
                dumb blacks, bomb-toting arabs, etc.) are proscribed, but positive
                portraits of one's own beliefs would not be.

                It can be a difficult and individual decision for the teacher on what
                to allow under free expression and what not to allow. I let one
                student use Nazi symbols in his art work because he said they
                represented evil, and the artwork was in line with this explanation.
                Another student's use of the Nazi symbol appeared more arbitrary and I
                made him erase it. Were my judgments correct? I am not 100% sure.
              • Marvin Pedigo
                I would say that an art teacher unlocks the creativity and that is about it. There may be some technical aspects to teaching but because true art has no rules,
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 6, 2008
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                  I would say that an art teacher unlocks the creativity and that is about it. There may be some technical aspects to teaching but because true art has no rules, then the freedom of expression is key. In cases I have heard of especially in writing, the art is an outlet for a very troubled individual. The writings provided a way vent and went on to free the individual of some very dark demons. I understand in a school environment the need to put boundaries on the expression to a degree. I would simply say to a student that there are some types of art we will be studying here and some you will have to express in the privacy of your home studio. I think that being an artist, and I believe we all are, has a responsibility with it. It may be proper to teach that while in the process of learning that light objects come forward, and dark look farther away.
                  Blessing,
                  A hopeless artist,
                  Brother Marvin

                  wmvanhorn <vivalaarte@...> wrote:
                  Political correctedness may be carried too far sometimes but its
                  purpose is about not expressing beliefs that are directly hurtful to
                  others. Showinng stereotypical portraits of a group of people (like
                  dumb blacks, bomb-toting arabs, etc.) are proscribed, but positive
                  portraits of one's own beliefs would not be.

                  It can be a difficult and individual decision for the teacher on what
                  to allow under free expression and what not to allow. I let one
                  student use Nazi symbols in his art work because he said they
                  represented evil, and the artwork was in line with this explanation.
                  Another student's use of the Nazi symbol appeared more arbitrary and I
                  made him erase it. Were my judgments correct? I am not 100% sure.




                  Alpha Impressions-2155
                  Love, Peace, Serenity
                                      
                           
                • loveylemmon
                  Julie, That sounds like an interesting conference. Thanks for sharing about that. I share your take on this issue. I went through a school for contemporary
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 7, 2008
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                    Julie,

                    That sounds like an interesting conference. Thanks for sharing about
                    that.

                    I share your take on this issue. I went through a school for
                    contemporary arts, and it was highly politically correct. It was very
                    conceptual, and you had to very strongly be able to justify all
                    decision making in your artworks. And it was as if many topics were off
                    limits because of the pc-ness.

                    My personal take on it, is that religious is religious. If anything
                    about beliefs is to be encouraged in student art, then I would think
                    the teacher and school would have to be quite tolerant... (not
                    tolerating anything hateful, mind you...).

                    abby
                  • dutchbluek
                    It is ridiculous to me. Like there has to be more to the story. Was this student in the habit of evnagelizig as he walked through the halls? Does he attend a
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 12, 2008
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                      It is ridiculous to me. Like there has to be more to the story. Was
                      this student in the habit of evnagelizig as he walked through the
                      halls? Does he attend a school where students have a strict dress code?

                      In high school, I did a 3-D piece that included Christian, Jewish,
                      Hindu, and Islamic symbols in it. There was never any thought that my
                      artwork adversely affected anyone.

                      Currently, all of my students are completing projects for an upcoming
                      artshow. Not only did I allow them personal references to family
                      religion in their work, but I also shared my mother's rosary (and the
                      story behind it) with them. We live in a military community, and I
                      asked them to think of a family memory to illustrate or of some object
                      with sentimental value. It was highly successful! An added plus is that
                      we've now connected in a way that is often difficult to do in 45
                      minutes a week.

                      Additionally, much of the fine art in our SRA Art Connections series
                      reflects religious icons and stories. One fourth grade image is of
                      sketches that someone did while preparing to paint the scene of a
                      saint's execution. There are no clear images of violence in these
                      sketches, yet I think the kids could handle it anyway!

                      Our nation's principles are muddied and have been litigated to pieces.
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