- By Antoinette Radford
- BBC News
The principal of a Florida school was forced to resign after a parent complained that sixth graders were being exposed to pornography.
The complaint stems from a Renaissance art class in which students viewed Michelangelo’s statue of David.
This iconic statue is one of the most famous in Western history.
But one parent complained that the material was pornographic and two others said they wanted to know more about the course before it was delivered.
The 5.17m (17ft) statue depicts a completely naked David, the biblical character who slays the giant Goliath.
The lesson, given to children aged 11 and 12, also included references to the painting “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo and “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli.
Tallahassee Classical School Principal Hope Carrasquilla said she resigned after receiving an ultimatum from the school board to resign or be fired.
Local media reported that Ms. Carrasquilla did not know the reason she was asked to resign, but believed it was related to complaints about the course.
They also said Ms. Carrasquilla had been principal for less than a year.
In a interview According to US media outlet Slate, the school’s board chairman, Barney Bishop III, said that last year the principal sent a notice to parents warning them that students were going to see Michel’s David. Angel – but that was not done this year. He called it a “blatant error” and said “parents have the right to know whenever their child learns about a controversial topic and image.”
“We’re not going to show the whole statue of David to kindergartners. We’re not going to show it to second graders. Showing the whole statue of David is appropriate at a certain age. We’ll figure out when that will be possible,” Mr. Bishop said.
Teachers who violate the law risk being suspended or losing their teaching license.
The David was completed by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. It was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, with Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari claiming that the David “surpassed” any statue that had ever existed before.
Queen Victoria gifted a copy of the David to the South Kensington Museum – later the V&A – in 1857. When she first saw the cast, she was apparently so shocked by the nudity that a fig leaf was ordered to cover the genitals.
The V&A website states that the sheet was “prepared for any royal visit, when it was hung on the figurine using two strategically placed hooks.”