Florida principal ousted after students see image of Michelangelo’s "David"
The Tallahassee Classical School, which is affiliated with a right-wing Christian college, also opposes "pronouns" and the year 1619.
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By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines about how a Florida principal was kicked out after students at her school saw an image of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture “David,” the Renaissance masterpiece of the nude biblical figure.
What you may not have read much about are the school’s ties to conservative Christianity.
Hope Carrasquilla was the principal of the Tallahassee Classical School until this week, when the board told her to resign or be fired. (She chose to resign.) The image of “David” was shown to sixth grade students, raising the ire of at least one parent who couldn’t handle it and called it “pornographic.”
Carrasquilla told the Huffington Post it was “a little more complicated than that” because parents typically get notified before their kids see works of classical art and they didn’t receive that notice this time around, while the board said there were “multiple issues” with Carrasquilla but failed to elaborate for legal reasons.
When you hear the board’s chair Barney Bishop explain why parents send their kids here, though, you get a better sense of just how messed up this charter school is:
“Parental rights trump everything else,” Bishop said. He added that the pandemic’s remote teaching gave parents a clearer window into their children’s education and prompted some to choose schools like Tallahassee Classical.
“They didn’t like the woke indoctrination that was going on,” he said.
“We don’t use pronouns,” Bishop said. “We don’t teach CRT and we don’t ever mention 1619 — those are not appropriate subjects for our kids.”
“We don’t use pronouns” is a hell of a statement to make when you’re the head of a K-12 school. Boasting about how you ignore slavery—and the year enslaved people were brought to this land—doesn’t make it better.
In an interview with Slate, Bishop went on to explain he didn’t have a problem with the statue at all… while admitting he still wanted it to be censored:
We’re not going to show the full statue of David to kindergartners. We’re not going to show him to second graders. Showing the entire statue of David is appropriate at some age. We’re going to figure out when that is.
And you don’t have to show the whole statue! Maybe to kindergartners we only show the head. You can appreciate that. You can show the hands, the arms, the muscles, the beautiful work Michelangelo did in marble, without showing the whole thing.
It’s a wonder why any decent parents would want their kids to go here and even more curious why someone like Carrasquilla would want to be its principal. This isn’t a school. It’s an indoctrination center for white conservative parents who want their children to learn as little as possible.
While the idea of a “classical” school focused on Western liberal arts education might sound fancy—and it’s popular among Christian homeschoolers—the reality is that they are far more limited in scope than most traditional public schools.
Naturally, this school is connected to an institution known for promoting right-wing nonsense:
The Tallahassee Classical School is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian institution that has sought to expand its influence over the last decade by helping set up public charter schools. Hillsdale briefly cut ties with the Tallahassee school in early 2022 for not meeting improvement standards, but it later regained affiliation.
Hillsdale College, based in Michigan, has become a clearinghouse for conservative propaganda and David Barton-esque misinformation. It’s the same school responsible for the recent right-wing push in Florida’s civics classes.
In other words, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that an attempt to introduce children to a classical work of art at a “Classical” school didn’t go over well. God forbid those kids learn anything about a penis before they’re married.
None of the board members or parents have explained what they fear by kids seeing this sculpture. It’s also not clear why parental permission was needed before kids were shown the image. No doubt their churches have talked about Adam and Eve before. The sculpture of David isn’t even sexual, much less “pornographic.” Are they jealous of the size? Do they think boys will magically turn gay by seeing a nude statue? Who knows. Even Bishop said second graders shouldn’t see the full statue without explaining what the problem would be.
Honestly, the only person who comes out of this story looking good is Carrasquilla, who will no longer have to work at TCS, but even she isn’t defending the art, suggesting there’s more to the story that we’re not hearing. She doesn’t need to be reinstated; she needs to get the hell out of this place.
Keep in mind that this whole controversy began due to the same conservative Christians who want to ban books and drag queen story hours in the name of child safety. There’s no logical consistency to their ideas. They’re fine with guns in school but want to censor works of art. They fine with religious indoctrination in the classroom but want to shield kids from learning about our nation’s history.
You would think the people who fantasize about turning back the clocks would embrace a statue created over 500 years ago.
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