We had an issue with this in our homophobic little town, where a High School
painting was rejected from the city wide art show for content - it showed a
football player, looking especially effeminate (read: GAY) leaning on the
bumper of a car with a rainbow decal... the artist wanted to address
stereotypes - and the school district said fine, but not in out art show...
Our district restrict anything with drug, alcohol or gang related logos to
be displayed (specifically on clothing) so I tend to restrict it in my
classroom, but I address it from an different angle in that if it is a logo,
or insignia I consider it to be someone else's art work, and should not be
used in our own (always teaching about copyright)... But I have struggled
with the ever present mushroom.
With secondary students I really struggle with censorship issues, students
needs to know they are free to express themselves - but they also must learn
that there expression can and often will incite reaction.
Of course now, the Government is doing what it fears we will not do for
ourselves - Didn't a number of our forefathers rebel to assure these rights
for us? or is it really all just about fireworks and hot dogs?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 6:40 PM
Subject: Responses re Supreme Court Ruling?
> Last week the Supreme Courts handed down a decision that likely will
> have an impact on freedom of speech for students (and teachers).
> The so-called "Bong hits for Jesus" (Plenty on Google about this)
> gives principals the right to restrict and punish students whose
> expression might encourage drug use.
> Now that sounds pretty specific, but the ruling opens the door to
> restrict student expression in other areas.
> Pennsylvania ACLU legal director, Vik Walczak, suggests this is the
> thin end of the wedge to keeping a lid on student expression that
> can be described as disruptive to a school's education mission.
> As free expression in art education is the subject and substance of
> my doctoral research and writing, I would appreciate hearing from
> members of the listserv who have experience with freedom of
> expression, censorship, self censorship and other pertinent topics
> to this issue. What do you think of the Supreme Court ruling?
> A lot of Getty list members participated in my surveys, especially
> one if 20 questions length from 2001. Results of that survey showed
> that teachers who participated were concerned about free expression,
> worried about how far the students and they could go with topics of
> a controversial or sensitive nature. That was before 911, the war
> on terror, the patriot act, NCLB, all of which limit what it is ok
> It would be great to hear from you.
> Jane Beckwith in Brooklyn.