Today’s Wacky News: Is It ‘Art’ or ‘Classroom Pornography’?

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An art teacher at the Lincoln Elementary School in Utah has been fired for, er, “exposing” his sixth grade students to “classroom pornography” (

But the sheriff’s deputy who came running when the parents called, well, he didn’t think there was any pornography, so no charges were filed. This in spite of the fact that he found the school principal stuffing the “evidence” into a shredder.

Here’s what happened. To make a point about color, the art teacher told the kids to look in the school library’s “Art Box,” which contained some hundred post cards featuring famous and classical works of art. Three or four of them depicted nudes. When they found out about it, angry parents called police.

There’s also a kerfluffle over what the teacher may or may not have said when he was asked about it.

Don’t get me wrong: I think parents should have veto power over whatever is taught in their children’s classroom. It would be even better if they gave their kids a Christian education at home.

That being said, you can’t study art history without being “exposed” to nudes. Not if you want to study Western art, beginning with the Greeks. Or certain types of Hindu sculpture. Then again, this is only sixth grade. When I was in sixth grade, the art teacher managed to teach us about art without showing us any nudes. I still remember our lessons about Giotto, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso: Mr. Rarick would be proud of me.

Really, though–shredding the evidence: tsk, tsk. “Quick, quick, run it through the shredder before the cops get here!” I call that “acting guilty.” It’s a good way to make people think you must be guilty. Like when you edit out all the cold temperature readings to prove Global Warming and then deny you did it and refuse to answer any questions about it.

Public school–America’s better off without it.

7 comments on “Today’s Wacky News: Is It ‘Art’ or ‘Classroom Pornography’?

  1. I think your last sentence really says it all. From what I read, I don’t think that the teacher or even the principal intended any bad. There were materials in that Art Box they didn’t realize were there and as soon as they found them they got rid of them. A lot of good people would have handled the problem similarly.

    Ultimately, the problem here is that children need to be educated in the context of family, not a school. Maybe some social groups can help to expose children to learning along with others, but always with at least a degree of family control. Arrangements with other like-minded parents can help. The problem is, these days, the parents of children in the schools run a wide gamut from very prudish to libertine. Some parents actually encourage sexual experimentation by their children and that is obviously not going to be compatible with conservative Christian beliefs.

    The line between art and prurient material has always been hard to define. A lot of it has to do with how it is presented. If a parent saw one of those nudes and freaked out in front of their children the kids could hardly be blamed for thinking that there must be something pretty exciting about all of this. OTOH, if a parent reacts calmly to such a thing the chances are that the children will follow suit. It becomes a matter of context. A nude photo in a medical book has a much different impact than it would were it published in some trashy porn magazine.

    I sure don’t see why this person should lose their job. The instructor probably believed that the Art Box contained only images which were selected as appropriate for youngsters. While it’s an unfortunate incident, I don’t see it as rising to anywhere near the level of criminality or necessitating that anyone be punished or lose their job.

    When I was in grade school, something quite similar happened. One student brought in an art book from home and there turned out to be a photo of a nude sculpture in there, probably Michaelangelo’s David. As the book made the rounds of the classroom the photo of the nude sculpture was noticed and the teacher took possession of the book immediately. She said something explanatory to help the children whom were innocent of understanding the anatomy involved and the matter was resolved at that moment.

    I don’t recall any aftereffects for students, teachers or anyone else. That was over fifty years ago, and I didn’t recall it until this story came to light. I don’t keep up on my old home town, but I don’t recall hearing of an unusual number of serial killers coming out of my old school, so I assume that everyone survived without irreversible mental damage. We did go through a lot of Play-Doh, hot cocoa and flannel jammies from that point on and, of course, nothing has ever been expected of any of us since. Not!

    🙂 🙂

    1. You’ve just reminded me an incident I’d forgotten.

      In fifth grade, I was kicked out of school for a day for drawing a picture a naked woman (with square boobs, no less–don’t ask me why!). I’d seen such pictures in the classroom encyclopedia, and thought my age group peers would think I was cool if I imitated it. My teacher made it into a federal case, but for once my parents dismissed it as a ridiculous overreaction by the teacher.

      It does seem strange to me that any school, in these days of assorted “gender education” being thrown around like confetti, would go bats over a few art works.

    2. You had forgotten, but the rest of us remembered. Had you ever run for office that picture would have been on the front page of every paper on earth. “Demented Deviant Runs For Dogcatcher in NJ Hamlet!” Of course that doesn’t happen if you are Al Franken. 🙂

  2. In the 21st century, if anyone goes on the Internet there are advertisements all over the place, many of them salacious. It can’t be avoided. Welcome to the brave new world. The genie is out of the bottle.

    1. I don’t know how to protect children from this corrupted culture. But I think whatever you do, it has to start with the Bible.

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