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Have you tried to talk to the student about this work? Does she seem
depressed...what about her appearance, friends...has there been a change
this year from another year? Why was that "all that was said on the
subject"? If this were my student, I would talk about the imagery with
her...find out what it means to her...discuss it's symbolism and what other
people think about it...respond to it. I'd be up front to her with my
concerns...that the work has quite a 'dark' feel to it, that it concerns me,
and I'd like to understand what it means to her? Not like I'm going to
'turn her in', but in an 'interested from the perspective of personal
imagery/artist/teacher' kind of way. I'm very interested in where personal
imagery comes from and have had this discussion with many students about
their images...how they are perceived by others, etc. I've also noticed
that 'inappropriate' images tend to occur less when student work is taken
seriously as art and is discussed on a formal basis (e.g. how does the
composition/color/line/etc. work with the message you are trying to get
across, how is the image possibly stereotyped, where have you tried to make
original statements, how will this be perceived by other viewers).
Of course, I'd also take the precaution of discussing this with the school
counselor, making sure that the counselor won't immediately yank her into
the office and start asking her about her artwork...but will handle it in a
Good luck...being a teacher isn't always easy, is it?
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