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Re: [art_education] Re:Student gets zero for religious drawing

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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 1 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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    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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.




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            • 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 6 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 7 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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