Frisco cover-up

After she took fifth graders on a field trip to an art museum last April, an award-winning art teacher in Frisco, Texas was reprimanded and later suspended. One parent complained that children had seen nude art.

The superintendent says the teacher’s contract will not be renewed at the end of the year; she’s been denied a transfer to another school in the district. Despite years of superior ratings before the field trip, administrators say her teaching performance is the reason she’s been suspended with pay one month into the school year.

EdWonk wonders why principals aren’t held accountable for “artless, spineless and clueless” decisions.

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  1. I’m sure that the students complained to their parents.

    I occasionally get complaints on my evaluations that we spend too much time looking at naked statues. I now try to start the section on Greek Art by telling them to drop the course if they’re offended by nudity.

    Oh – and at the end of a course on Medieval comedy I got an evaluation complaining that I talked dirty. I think it was because I read the material OUT LOUD. Medieval comedy is all bawdy!


  2. Given the circumstances, it was inevitable. What does anyone expect?

    One of the few things that a teacher can do that’s wrong – wrong in the sense that swift, sure punishment follows – is to embarrass an administrator with the severity of the transgression a function of the rank of the most visible and/or most embarrassed administrator.

    Felonies are routinely covered up to prevent just this sort of embarrassment. A 35% graduation rate carries no repercussions. But make the district superintendent look like a fool and you’re done.

    So, what does this sort of incident tell anyone who’s paying attention about the public education system? What does it indicate about what’s important and results in an immediate, serious response and what isn’t and doesn’t?

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    This whole story smells to high heaven.

    Here’s a link to the Dallas Museum of Art:

    (Not able to find any thing particularly offensive on the WEB-site.)

    Here is a better article on the matter from the local Frisco paper:

    Here are some further thoughts from another WEB-site, including comments from someone who might actually work with this teacher:

    Ms. McGee, who has taught in various Texas districts for 28 years, said she visited the museum and spoke with museum staffers before the trip to ensure that it was appropriate for the fifth-grade class. Ms. McGee said she does not know which piece of art offended the parent, and the district did not identify it.

    Ms. McGee said principal Nancy Lawson called her into a meeting the day after the trip to admonish her about the parent’s complaint. Shortly thereafter, she received a negative review and a series of directives about displaying student artwork and creating lesson plans.

    “You have to start somewhere when you’ve seen things you don’t believe are in the best interest of the students,” Superintendent Rick Reedy said.

    Why didn’t they tell her what art piece the parent found objectionable? They would be doing the museum a favor as well since it thought that the exhibit was appropriate for 5th graders. Maybe the parents are relatives of John Ashcroft.

    My daughter is a student at an exemplary/blue ribbon elementary school in Flower Mound, which is under Lewisville ISD. Our art teacher took the THIRD graders to the Dallas Museum of Art. She explained ahead of time that there would be some nudes in paintings/sculptures and this information went home on the permission slip. I went along as a parent helper and, with the exception of a few giggles, there were never any problems. Our art teacher was voted Teacher of the Year at LISD in the past. It’s a shame that the principal and superintendent have caved in to the complaint of one parent. Frisco parents should not be silent on this issue.

    If only everyone knew the full story. This is so beyond the field trip. I am glad that she has finally been approached that “free draw” is an unacceptable lesson plan. Being 10 minutes late to dismiss one class and accept another on a regular basis is unacceptable. Making teachers late in turning in their newsletters because they were waiting for her “blurb”. “Working” in the hall during the 45 minutes she has with students. And there are more in the 4 years I have been associated with her. And the “only issue” that people are seeing is “one parent complaint about a field trip”. Please realize that there is so much more to this and there are reasons that the administration cannot respond. Please don’t believe everything you read and hear!!

    One of the Blog comments points out that permission forms were sent out (another school) and parent helpers went along too, so the idea of warning parents about possible nudity at the museum is not totally foreign in that part of the country.

    This business about the nude statue has got to be little more than a smoke screen for other problems.

  4. Wayne Martin says:

    And I didn’t include this article from the NYT:

    Although the tour had been approved by the principal, and the 89 students were accompanied by 4 other teachers, at least 12 parents and a museum docent, Ms. McGee said, she was called to the principal the next day and “bashed.”