Utah art teacher fired for showing nude paintings to small kids says he was wrongfully dismissed [VIDEO]

Utah art teacher fired for showing nude paintings to small kids says he was wrongfully dismissed [VIDEO]

I definitely have opinions on this one. An art teacher in Utah was just fired allegedly for showing nude artwork to sixth graders that was reported as pornographic. Mateo Rueda teaches art and says he was wrongly dismissed. He evidently handed a pack of about 100 postcards around for the kids to see and two of them had nude paintings on them. Now, many children see nude artwork online and when they go to major museums. If the parent approves, it can be educational. But in this instance, I feel the school is right. I’ll elaborate.

Rueda claims he did not know there were nudes on any of the postcards. Well, he should have looked at them before handing them out and I’m not sure I believe him. He did say that the same artwork could be found in the school’s library. That’s still not an excuse. I’m not necessarily against this sort of thing, since it is art and comes from famous artists. But before showing sixth graders this sort of thing, he should have gotten permission from the parents and the school. He didn’t do that.

Other pieces of art that Rueda was showing were Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers. But where it went off the rails was with Francois Boucher’s Odalisque, an 18th-century partial nude of a woman lounging. He was contacted by police last month after someone filed a complaint about the subject matter in the classroom. That led to him being fired. But the school says that it wasn’t only the postcards that led to his termination. School officials are not commenting on the matter, but one parent came forward with what her son told her.

Parent Venessa Rose Pixton said she was upset because Rueda’s handling of the situation belittled students, including her 11 year-old son. “He said Mr. Mateo even told the class, ‘There’s nothing wrong with female nipples. You guys need to grow up and be mature about this,'” Pixton said. That does not sound like something a kid would make up, but it does sound typical of a liberal teacher. One district official says it was Rueda’s interaction with the students that got him fired, not the postcards themselves. Rueda of course is denying all this.

The Rococo-style partial nude Odalisque by 18th-century artist Francois Boucher was one of the paintings.

It should be fairly easy to ascertain from other students in the class whether that happened or not. A few days after the December 4 lesson, police went to Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum. They found Principal Jeni Buist shredding postcards – at the request of the school district – that contained nudity, Sheriff Chad Jensen said. I see nothing wrong with that… the content goes against the school’s guidelines for decency. “She said she was putting the postcards and paintings in the shredder at the request of the school district so they wouldn’t be distributed again,” Jensen said. “We got some of the pictures and showed them to the County Attorney’s Office, and they said these wouldn’t meet the definition of pornography. They declined to file charges.”

The nudes do not constitute pornography, but that does not mean they don’t violate school policy. All of this could have been avoided if the teacher had reviewed the cards and gotten permission prior to showing them. I don’t believe he is blameless here. And I don’t think he should have been terminated unless it is proven that what the little boy said is correct and Rueda did say that about the artwork. I will say this in closing though and I don’t have all the facts, it feels like the school is overreacting a bit here.

The Impressionist-era portrait Iris Tree by Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani, was the other.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at NoisyRoom.net. She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - trevorloudon.com. She also does research at KeyWiki.org. You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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