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Re: Student gets zero for religious drawing

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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