Tallahassee Principal’s Resignation Over Backlash For Including “David” in Curriculum Has The Internet Talking

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At the Tallahassee Classical School in Tallahassee, Florida, several parents brought complaints to the charter school’s board of education regarding the inclusion of Michelangelo’s statue of “David” in an art history course for sixth graders. The parents presented the argument that the statue was “pornographic,” and the incident led to Principal Hope Carrasquilla’s resignation.

The news comes after various censorship bills have been drafted or passed in the state of Florida, under Governor Ron DeSantis. The most infamous of these bills, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” would prohibit educators from discussing LGBTQ+ related topics in the classroom from kindergarten through third grade.  DeSantis, along with Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee, has additionally moved to prohibit drag performances. The bill was passed in Tennessee and prohibits drag performances in public spaces “where minors can see them” beginning April 1.

Today, the internet is divided over the latest move to potentially censor historic art pieces. Michelangelo’s “David” exhibited a revolutionary sculpting technique for its time, and remains one of the most culturally impactful works of art from the Italian Renaissance. Conservative media personalities and voters alike feel that the move protects children, while others feel that the censorship of art is a dangerous step for public education.

“David” is on display at The Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze in Florence, Italy. The statue was carved from marble between 1501 and 1504 by Michelangelo, and depicts the biblical figure David. The statue is widely regarded to represent the independence and civil liberties of the city of Florence. The Chair of the Tallahassee School Board, Barney Bishop, expressed why he thought that the statue was not necessary in public education for children.

One Twitter user pointed out that the statue is frequently represented in contemporary media, including shows geared toward children, like Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob Squarepants.”

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Others argued that too much censorship could lead to a rise in teenagers misinformed about their bodies, or about sexuality in general.

The sculpture is an example of realism in art, and does not depicts its subject in a sexual manner. Given the context, some Twitter users argue that the statue’s presence in art curriculums can not be seen as harmful to children.

On the conservative end, some Twitter users are going as far as calling educators’ defense of David’s presence in their curriculum pedophilia.

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Others feel that today’s controversy is a prime example of the need for reform in sex education in the U.S. For decades, abstinence-only education was promoted in the majority of public schools across the U.S., which partially contributed to a trend of teen pregnancy.

Artists, historians, and educators argue that the nude form is an imperative part of understanding the historic progression of different art movements. Some even pointed out the irony of the school’s name (it is a Classical School) and how parents remain shocked when their children receive an education on the classics while studying there.

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Principal Carrasquilla came forward and told Huffpost  that after a series of miscommunications, a letter warning parents of the material was never sent out. She went on to explain that she was not shocked by the parents’ reactions, as she has taught this unit in classical education for a decade. School board Chair Barney Bishop maintains that he will continue to fight for parents to have more input on primary education, saying ““Parental rights trump everything else.”

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