Principal resigns after students in Florida displayed Michelangelo statue

An image of Michelangelo's David statue

An image of Michelangelo’s David statue

A principal at a Florida school was forced to resign after a parent complained about sixth-grade students’ exposure to pornography.

The complaint arose from a Renaissance art class in which students were shown Michelangelo’s statue of David.

The iconic statue is one of the most famous in western history.

But one parent complained that the material was pornographic and two others said they wanted to know about the class before it was taught.

The 17-foot-tall statue depicts a fully nude David, the biblical figure slaying the giant Goliath.

The lesson, given to the 11- and 12-year-olds, also included references to Michelangelo’s painting The Creation of Adam and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

Principal Hope Carrasquilla of Tallahassee Classical School said she resigned after being given an ultimatum by the school board to resign or be fired.

Local media reported that Ms Carrasquilla did not know the reason she was being asked to resign, but believed it was related to the complaints about classes.

They also said Ms Carrasquilla had been principal for less than a year.

In an interview with US magazine Slate, school board chair Barney Bishop III said the principal sent a note to parents last year warning them that students were going to see Michelangelo’s David – but that this was the case year had not happened. He called it a “egregious mistake” and said that “parents have a right to know whenever a controversial subject and image is being taught to their child.”

“We will not show kindergarten children the full statue of David. We won’t show it to second years. At a certain age, it is appropriate to show the entire David statue. We’ll find out when that is,” Mr Bishop said.

On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed expanding a law that banned public schools from teaching sex education and gender identity.

Teachers who break the law face suspension or loss of their teaching license.

The David was completed by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. It was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, with Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari saying the David “surpassed” any statue that had ever existed before.

Queen Victoria gave a copy of the David to the South Kensington Museum – later the V&A – in 1857. Apparently, when she first saw the cast, she was so shocked by the nudity that a fig leaf was commissioned to cover the genitals.

The V&A’s website states that the sheet “was kept ready for royal visits when hung from the figure by two strategically placed hooks”.


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