The principal of Florida’s Tallahassee Classical School was left without a job after parents complained that their 11-12-year-old sons were shown Michelangelo’s David, which he described as “pornographic.” The now former principal, Hope Carrasquilla, told HuffPost that the situation was “more complicated than that” because the usual protocol is to send parents a letter before students are shown classic artworks. Due to “a series of communication problems,” the letter was not sent to sixth-grade parents, and some complained, Carrasquilla said. One parent was even “upset”. The school’s board of trustees decided to give the principal the choice of resigning or being fired after less than a year of service. She is the third principal at the school since it opened in the fall of 2020, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The move comes as conservatives in Florida and elsewhere fight to step up their input into primary education.
“Parental rights trump everything else”
Carrasquilla, who taught classical education for a decade, knew that “once in a while there’s a parent who gets upset about Renaissance art” – hence the idea for the letter. The former principal was therefore not surprised by the reaction of the president of the school board, Barney Bishop, but by the fact that other board members have gone along with it. In a call with HuffPost, Bishop pointed out that the nude sculpture incident was one of multiple problems with Carrasquilla, without going into specifics. “Parental rights trump all else,” he said, adding that the pandemic’s remote teaching has given parents a clearer window into their children’s education and prompted some to choose schools like Tallahassee Classical.