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I have worked in several schools where this kind of thing in various
forms has arisen. In each case, the school did not allow the parents
to withdraw their children from a part of the curriculum because of
conflicts in belief systems.
Here at IST, there was an incident that happened a couple of years
ago where a Muslim parent told her child not to listen to anything
the music teacher said because she was the "devil." As a result, the
child would plug her ears when she was in the music class. Pretty
soon alot of the children were plugging their ears. In the subsequent
conferencing over the incident with the parent, there was a request
made to withdraw the child from the music program because of the
conflict over personal/religious/cultural beliefs and the program of
In the resulting brew, the school set the policy that parents cannot
opt their child out of any of the curriculum. By enrolling their
child in the school, they enroll in the curriculum. This policy has
guided further incidents of this nature from exploding into a many
headed monster whose face keeps appearing again after each is
If the administration supports your point of view, then the school
you are working in needs to develop policy that
is used to support you for further incidents of this nature.
Well, it finally happened. After 23 years of teaching, I had a visit
from a parent today who does not want his children exposed to
pornography in the art room.
We are studying Africa. We watched a video last week of African
artforms from West Africa. Before the video, I explained that some
people do not wear clothes in parts of the world where it is very hot.
If I went there with my sweaters on, they would think I was nuts, and
if a person came here wearing no clothes in the snow, I would think
they are nuts. I also explained that art reflects the world of the
people and we need to respect it and not giggle. The students were
I took the parent to the principals office. He explained that his
child does not see TV and he does not want her exposed to pornographic
pictures of people with no clothes on. I explained my stance on
Respect for other cultures, etc. The principal supported me. I gave
the parent the option of not having his child attend art class while
we are studying Africa. He chose that.
What would you do?
Kayenta Intermediate Art