Principal Ousted Amid Controversy Over Michelangelo Art Lesson

While Florida Republicans have attracted praise from conservatives in recent years for efforts to remove inappropriate — even obscene — material from the state’s schools, some situations are not as clear-cut as others.

In one recent example, the principal of Tallahassee Classical School says she was forced out of the position over a miscommunication with parents concerning an art lesson featuring an iconic statue created by Michelangelo.

When some parents learned that sixth-grade students were exposed to the nude “David” statue during class, they were upset, with at least one parent reportedly referring to the 16th-century work of art as “pornographic.”

The principal, Hope Carrasquilla, has since spoken out about the situation and admitted that, in accordance with a school policy that went into effect last month, a letter should have been sent to parents advising them in advance about the lesson.

She said that she subsequently heard from a handful of parents who believed that the material was inappropriate, though one mother was responsible for amplifying the controversy.

“One parent, she was so upset, she was the one who said it was pornographic and shouldn’t happen,” Carrasquilla said. “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.”

Following an emergency board meeting, chairman Barney Bishop reportedly gave the principal the option of resigning or facing termination.

She chose to step down, noting that the art teacher was not immediately fired but was required to write a letter of apology. According to Bishop, Carrasquilla’s incoming replacement will determine whether the teacher should face any further consequences.

Of course, both Carrasquilla and Bishop seem to agree that the Michelangelo lesson was not the only reason that she was let go after less than a year on the job.

“Over time, he didn’t like the way I did, or didn’t do, certain things,” Carrasquilla said of Bishop. “I was a new principal in the beginning of the year. I didn’t know.”

Bishop noted that the school is affiliated with the conservative Hillsdale College and its curriculum should reflect that.

“Parental rights trump everything else,” he explained. “They didn’t like the woke indoctrination that was going on. We don’t use pronouns. We don’t teach [critical race theory] and we don’t ever mention 1619 — those are not appropriate subjects for our kids.”

For her part, Carrasquilla said that the controversial art lesson was included in the Hillsdale-approved curriculum.

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