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Teachers Alter Art in Textbook
* by the Associated Press
Statesboro (GA) Herald, 8 Oct 99, p. 7
George Washington crossed the icy Delaware River in 1776 to lead an
on Trenton, N.J>, not to get laughed at by a bunch of fifth-graders.
So to avoid embarrassment to the general, at least two Georgia school
districts have altered a famous painting of the crossing in a
social studies textbook.
"Washington Crossing the Delaware," reproduced in the text "United
and Modern Times," shows the ornamental orbs of Washington's pocket
lying across his right thigh.
Educators feared that, to a fifth-grader, it might look as if the
private parts were on display.
"I know what it is and I know what it is supposed to be," said Guy Sims,
superintendent of Muscogee County Schools in Columbus. "But I also know
fifth-grade students and how they might react to it." To avoid the
distraction of snickering children, Sims decided to touch up the
A paint matching the color of Washington's britches was found. Teacher
aides spent about two weeks working with paint brushes to touch up the
offending page in more than 2,300 books, Sims said.
Sims said he found out about the painting after a teacher in Cobb County
spoke about it to her mother, who teaches in Columbus. Some elementary
schools in Cobb County simply removed the page from the book after an
3 memo alerted principals to the possible problem.
to handle it was left up to each school.
"Kindergarteners wouldn't even notice it," Due West Elementary School
Principal Robin Lattizori said of the optical illusion. "But fifth
It would make their year."
Sims said he initially tried to get the books replaced or have the
publisher supply an adhesive insert to cover up the painting. Harcourt
General, publisher of the textbook, got permission from the Metropolitan
Museum of Art to reproduce the painting, said spokesman Peter Farwell.
"So if we wanted to, we couldn't alter the painting," Farwell said.