Museum Invites Florida Class to Take a Look

Principal was ousted in dispute over teaching about Michelangelo's David
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2023 1:48 PM CDT
Updated Mar 26, 2023 4:45 PM CDT
Michelangelo's David Was Too 'Pornographic' for Florida Parent
Visitors to the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, pause to admire and take photos of Michelangelo's David.   (Michelle Locke via AP)
UPDATE Mar 26, 2023 4:45 PM CDT

The museum in Italy that displays Michelangelo's David has invited the parents and students of a Florida school whose principal was forced out in a dispute over teaching about the statue to come see it for themselves. The mayor of Florence and the director of the Galleria dell'Accademia on Sunday invited school officials, as well, including the former principal. They can witness the artwork's "purity" in person, said Cecilie Hollberg of the museum. "To think that David could be pornographic means truly not understanding the contents of the Bible, not understanding Western culture and not understanding Renaissance art," Hollberg told the AP. The museum does not charge admission to student groups.

Mar 23, 2023 1:48 PM CDT

The principal of Tallahassee Classical School says she was forced to quit after parents were upset by a Renaissance art lesson that included the most famous sculpture from the era—without a fig leaf. Hope Carrasquilla tells the Tallahassee Democrat that one parent at the Florida charter school complained Michelangelo's sculpture of David was "pornographic" and two others complained that parents of the sixth-grade class were not notified of the lesson in advance. "It saddens me that my time here had to end this way," says Carrasquilla, who resigned during an emergency board meeting Monday. She says school board chair Barney Bishop told her she would be fired if she didn't resign.

Carrasquilla tells the Huffington Post that parents should have been told about the art lesson but a letter did not go out due to a "series of miscommunications" involving her, the director of operations, and the art teacher. She says she has taught in classical education for a decade and "once in a while you get a parent who gets upset about Renaissance art." One parent, she says, was "point-blank upset" and "felt her child should not be viewing those pieces." Bishop tells the Democrat that he gave Carrasquilla the quit-or-be-fired ultimatum, but the school's employment lawyer had advised him not to say why. Carrasquilla's replacement will be the charter school's third principal since it opened in fall 2020.

story continues below

"Parental rights are supreme, and that means protecting the interests of all parents, whether its one, 10, 20, or 50," Bishop says. He says a rule was passed two weeks ago requiring parents to be notified on any "potentially controversial" material two weeks in advance. He says the school plans to be at "the cutting edge" or even ahead of changes being made to education in Florida, including a proposed expansion of the so-called "Don't Say Gay" law to cover all grades. " We agree with everything the governor is doing in the educational arena," Bishop says. "We support him because he’s right." (More Florida stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.