Par­ents up­set about art­work in AHS class­room

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­

The par­ent of an Al­covy High School stu­dent said she wants art­work that says, “God is Dead” taken down from the walls of her daugh­ter’s class­room.

Crys­tal Mitchell said her daugh­ter, a sopho­more at AHS, com­plained to her about stu­dent art­work dis­played in her lit­er­a­ture class, which she said was art drawn by stu­dents af­ter read­ing “The Cru­cible,” the 1953 play by the Amer­i­can play­wright Arthur Miller.

Mitchell said her daugh­ter told her the col­lage of art in the class­room made her feel “un­com­fort­able.” Her daugh­ter took pho­tos of the art­work and showed them to Mitchell.

The play is a drama­ti­za­tion of the Salem witch tri­als. The stu­dent art­work, Mitchell said, is “ba­si­cally a pic­ture of a noose with the wings hang­ing and then be­tween the wings it says, “God is Dead;” and then there is a pic­ture of the lady … ap­par­ently hold­ing like a voodoo doll, and then there is a noose hang­ing be­hind her and it says, ‘God is Dead,’” Mitchell said.

“Then there is an­other pic­ture of the devil. And it says, “The Devil is Alive,” and it’s just a col­lage of th­ese pic­tures. So, of course, my daugh­ter not know­ing the story … and she’s all about church and God. I mean, she’s a great kid … this re­ally made her feel un­com­fort­able.”

Mitchell said the story is “based on witch­craft, and if we can’t preach the Bi­ble in school, why are they teach­ing this in school?” She said she sim­ply wants the art­work re­moved.

How­ever, Sherri Davis-Viniard, New­ton County School Sys­tem di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions, said there are no plans to re­move the art­work.

In a re­lease from the school sys­tem, Davis-Viniard noted that the par­ent did not speak to any ad­min­is­tra­tors re­gard­ing her con­cerns over the art­work — only to the me­dia.

“She called and left a mes­sage for the prin­ci­pal, and the prin­ci­pal called her back and left a mes­sage on her voice mail. She has not re­turned the call,” Davis-Viniard said.

She added that the art­work was sim­ply “re­flect­ing a ma­jor quote and event in the play, ‘The Cru­cible,’ a piece of lit­er­a­ture read by thou­sands of stu­dents across the na­tion each year.”

“The art­work is in no way an at­tack on re­li­gion,” she said. “The art­work is hang­ing among other stu­dent art­work in a dis­play that re­flects the en­tire play, ‘The Cru­cible.’”

Davis-Viniard said school sys­tem of­fi­cials have spo­ken to at­tor­neys and were in­formed that it was “absolutely fine to dis­play the art­work, as it is not a re­li­gious piece — it’s re­flect­ing lit­er­a­ture.”

Mitchell said she’s not ask­ing for any pun­ish­ment to the teacher, but said she still feels the art­work should be taken down. She ex­plained that she felt keep­ing the art­work up was a dou­ble stan­dard.

“They are not al­lowed to pray in schools; they are not al­lowed to speak re­li­gion,” Mitchell said. “I just per­son­ally, I just don’t feel like it has a place on the school walls in a pub­lic school.

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