A Florida school principal was fired Monday after parents complained that her Renaissance art syllabus was inappropriate for a sixth-grade class. The controversy started after the school children were shown Michelangelo’s David, which one parent called “pornographic,” the Tallahassee Democrat first reported earlier this week.
Hope Carrasquilla, the now-former principal of Tallahassee Classical School, told HuffPost Thursday that the standard protocol is to notify parents ahead of lessons on classical artwork, but due to a “series of miscommunications,” a picture of the marble masterpiece was unveiled without warning in all its sinewy splendor.
According to Carrasquilla, one parent felt “point-blank upset” and that “her child should not be viewing” the 16th-century Renaissance sculpture, which depicts David, a figure from the Old Testament’s Book of Samuel made famous for his fight against the giant Goliath.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Tallahassee Classical School, a charter school, has now seen three principals resign or be fired since it opened in 2020. Carasquilla was at the helm for for less than a year.
The school follows the “classical education curriculum model” popular in Florida primary education. The pedagogical model stresses the “centrality of the Western tradition,” or, as the Tampa Bay Times describes it, “a historical focus on white, Western European and Judeo-Christian foundations.” The model is most used in Charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, though conservative legislators in the state have made moves to widen its influence.
This isn’t the first time Michelangelo’s David has sparked controversy. The Italian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai featured a to-scale 3D-printed replica of the statue. However according to reports, most of the replica was concealed by stone barriers, for modesty’s sake.