(MENAFN) A Tallahassee, Florida principal has resigned after parents expressed anger that students learned about Michaelangelo's David statue in art class. The sculpture, depicting a nude man, is considered one of the most iconic pieces of Renaissance art. However, some parents of sixth graders at Tallahassee Classical School found it "pornographic" and complained that the students should not have been shown a photo of the statue. As a result, Principal Hope Carrasquilla resigned.
The school, which opened in 2020 and is affiliated with a conservative Christian college, Hillsdale College, teaches David to students every year. However, the administration typically notifies parents first, and this year, a letter was not sent out. While 97% of parents agreed to the lesson this year, the 3% of parents who did not agree were entitled to their opinion, according to the school's board chair, Barney Bishop.
Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, also known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis last year. The law allows parents to weigh in on school lessons and limits discussions on gender and sexuality in schools. Several other recent bills in the state would limit what is discussed in school settings, including one that limits teaching about menstruation.
The controversy surrounding David caught the attention of the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, who tweeted that "mistaking art for pornography is just ridiculous." He invited the school official to Florence to recognize her on behalf of the city, as David is the main attraction at Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia. Another series of nude sculptures by Michaelangelo, referred to as prisoners or slaves, is also on display at the museum. Michaelangelo is known for many significant works of art, including the Sistine Chapel ceiling at the Vatican.
While the David incident was cited as the reason for Carrasquilla's resignation, Bishop claimed that there were a number of other issues that contributed to her departure. He stated that Carrasquilla blamed the David photo for her resignation so that the whole truth would not be reported.
In response to the controversy, the school posted about the David incident on Facebook, stating that they have always shared David with their scholars and will continue to do so. They also promised to follow their policy and notify parents in advance so that they can make their own decision about whether the lesson is age-appropriate for their child.
CBS News reached out to Carrasquilla for further comment but is awaiting a response. The incident highlights the ongoing debate around censorship, education, and parental rights in the U.S.
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