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Letter: Classical works of art are not pornography

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor
Deseret News

This is my response to the firing of the Cache County elementary school art teacher for including postcard reproductions of well-known classical paintings, including nude figures shown to his sixth-grade class. Several elements of the news report need examination and re-thinking as follows:

First, the postcards came from the elementary school's own library. It can’t be said that they were there for older students at the school because sixth grade is the highest grade in elementary schools. So why were the postcards available for checkout from the school library if somehow it is deemed they are inappropriate for the oldest students in that very school?

Second, the images were not pornographic. Pornography has been defined by the U.S. Supreme Court as materials appealing to the “prurient interest” of the viewer/reader. And historically in the U.S., classical art has been ruled non-pornographic.

Third, sixth grade is not too early for children to be exposed to fine art and sculpture as we as a society try to instill an appreciation for the visual arts. Museums and art galleries display well-known works of art that have been deemed “beautiful” for hundreds of years.

Therefore, I encourage the school district to rehire the teacher and not act in such a “knee-jerk” manner in response to parents who want to protect their children from pornography — even including classical works of art.

Suzanne Reynolds

Salt Lake City