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From: Tracy Conley (tracy.conley_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Feb 06 2005 - 09:49:10 PST

I am a second year art teacher and I work in a very conservative area, which
I am learning
every day. This has been a really hard year so far. At the beginning of the
year I showed the
video, "Getting to know the artist, Vincent VanGogh" to Kindergarteners. The
part time art
teacher showed it to the readiness kindergarten last year as well. I had two
parents upset
over the cutting off of his ear. I let one of the parents borrow the video
and she actually returned
it and said what a great movie it was. The other parent was in the room when
I was showing it. She didn't come to me with the problem, she went directly
to my Principal (they are also good friends). He never spoke to me about it,
he had the Kindergarten teacher talk to me. Anyway, that blew over and now I
am on to a new problem.

The 5th graders are learning about Georgia O'Keeffe and I showed a biography
video from the public library on her. 40 min. into it there were two
paintings in the video that showed partial nudity. I explained to the class
at the end that's how they painted back then, it's not gross...I had to take
a life drawing class in college and we drew nudes. That was all! Let me say
this to, we are encouraged this year to discuss our college education, we
had to buy pendants to hang up outside of our classrooms, we have to have
our diplomas hanging in the classroom and on special fridays we wear college
clothes. I didn't think I was saying anything that was disrespectful or
inappropriate. Well, my Principal calls me at home on Monday night...ask me
all about this video and what was discussed. He wants to see the video first
thing in the morning. I gave it to him, didn't hear anything back until
Tuesday afternoon. He wrote me and said, do not show the video to any grade
level, do not discuss your education or nude modeling. Ok...I haven't. I've
read the book to the other 2 classes, "getting to know the artist"....let it
go. I am thinking this is all blown over and done. Yesterday, Saturday, I
get an email from my Principal saying that these two parents think we should
write a letter to all of the parents of the students that were exposed to
the video and discussion on nudes!!! I can't believe it. He writes what do
you think? I wrote back my opinion but I am wondering if any of you have run
into this in your years of teaching? Also, the birth of venus, David and a
few others are on a powerpoint that I am suppose to show to 5th graders,
which I haven't. I also showed this same Georgia O'Keeffe video last year to
all 3 5th grade classes and never once had a problem.

Neither one of these parents have discussed this with me at all and I am not
even sure what the boys told their parents. It's been over a week and it's
still a big deal. I will take any and all advice on this.