A Florida principal was forced to resign following a controversy surrounding a school lesson revolving around Michelangelo's "David" statue.
Tallahassee Classical School principal Hope Carrasquilla was reportedly given a choice of being fired or resigning following outrage by parents over a recent art lesson that included Michelangelo's iconic "David" statue and his "Creation of Adam" fresco painting.
Some parents were upset that the 6th-grade art lesson on March 17 included the nude Renaissance sculpture. One parent called the 16th-century sculpture "pornographic," according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The Tallahassee Classical School instituted a rule in February requiring teachers to provide parents with at least a one-week advanced notice of lesson plans that include sensitive topics, words, or images. Then parents can decide if they want their child to participate in the class.
Carrasquilla admitted that a notice should have gone out, but the letter didn't go to parents due to a "series of miscommunications."
Carrasquilla said one parent was "point-blank upset" and "felt her child should not be viewing those pieces."
"One parent, she was so upset, she was the one who said it was pornographic and shouldn’t happen,” Carrasquilla told WCTV. "The other two, as soon as the art teacher and I called them, were appreciative and said they wished we had sent out the letter. Unfortunately that didn’t end the situation."
The school held an emergency meeting a few days after the controversial class, and Carrasquilla was given the option to resign or be fired by the school board’s chair, Barney Bishop. Carrasquilla — who had only been principal at the school for less than a year — decided to resign.
Carrasquilla said the art teacher who gave the controversial lesson was required to write an apology letter to parents but was not disciplined by her or the school board. Bishop said it would be up to the new principal if any disciplinary action is taken against the art teacher.
Bishop told HuffPost that the nude sculpture controversy was not the sole reason for breaking ties with Carrasquilla but did not offer specific issues.
Carrasquilla said, "Over time he didn’t like the way I did, or didn’t do, certain things. I was a new principal in the beginning of the year. I didn’t know."
"It saddens me that my time here had to end this way," Carrasquilla remarked.
Bishop accused Carrasquilla of trying to "gin up a lot of publicity" by going public with her situation.
Bishop said the remote learning during the pandemic allowed parents to get a firsthand view of their children's education.
"Parental rights trump everything else," Bishop said. "They didn’t like the woke indoctrination that was going on."
Bishop noted, "We don’t use pronouns. We don’t teach CRT and we don’t ever mention 1619 — those are not appropriate subjects for our kids."
"Parents have left public schools because they don’t like what’s being taught in those schools, those parents come to our school because it’s a [choice] that they make," Bishop proclaimed.
The Tallahassee Classical School "joined the Barney Charter School Initiative, an outreach of Hillsdale College" in 2017. Hillsdale is a conservative Christian institution.
Carrasquilla noted the lesson was part of an existing Hillsdale College curriculum.
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