Jane, I have some of the same rules you listed below, but I've become more lenient lately, depending on the assignment and the students reasoning for the use of the image. We live in a world where students are faced with violence and drugs. I've had students who used these images to express their hurt over what has happened in their lives. I had an 8th grader this year whose mom was arrested for distribution of drugs. This student was raped by one of moms boyfriends in 6th grade. She just came back from a year leave of absence where she was in a treatment center for abused children. She now lives with dad. In one of her pieces this year, she put the symbol of motherhood in a cage and around it images that showed the bad choices her mom had made and how her choices that were freely chosen have now limited her choices because she is now in prison. There is more to the piece but you get the idea. It was a strong emotional piece and she needed a way to get her feelings off her chest. We dialogued over the art as
she developed it and worked with me and a counselor. I don't think we should set absolute limits. Some kids tried to put guns and bloody heads on their work for no reason other then to shock the teacher or viewer, I don't allow that. I had one student who will only draw gang related material, his counselor told me to let him. For him, I won't accept that. I feel we need to know our students, so we know where to set limits in art and help us to help them. When I see objectionable art, I do tell the student, I will need to show this to a counselor. Sometimes their art shows us they are crying for help.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 11:01 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: art room rules (images)
Does any school require rules about what can and cannot be addressed
in the art room? Like "school appropriate" subject matter (no images
of guns, no gang symbols, drugs etc.) Probably Middle and High School
With new responsibilities here in New York for school violence, does
anyone show an AP or guidance counselor work with "disturbing"
content, such as the aforementioned weapons (bombs) etc. My
understanding is that we are responsible if a child uses disturbing
images and we do not report it and something violent happens by or
to that child. Art as an early warning for Columbine.