Readers React: Cache County teacher fired after showing nude art

Thursday , January 04, 2018 - 5:15 AM1 comment

JESSICA KOKESH, Standard-Examiner Staff

The Cache County School District made national headlines last week after officials fired an art teacher who passed out images of classical paintings that contained nudity and were seen by sixth-graders. 

Lincoln Elementary School teacher Mateo Rueda said he wasn’t aware that a set of educational postcards from the school library contained a few works depicting nudity — including the impressionist-era portrait “Iris Tree” by Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani and the rococo-style partial nude “Odalisque” by 18th-century artist Francois Boucher — when he handed them out during a lesson and removed them once some students became uncomfortable.

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However, that didn’t stop some parents from complaining to the school district — and to police, who investigated a complaint that Rueda was showing students pornography. 

Rueda said he has requested a hearing and plans to appeal his termination to clear his reputation.

Here’s what you had to say when we shared the story on Facebook. (All comments are verbatim.)

Debbie Campbell: If you study art, you’re going to see nudity - not to be confused with porn. That’s no reason to fire an art teacher because mommy wants to overprotect her child. Better not go to Europe lady.

DeeJay Homer: "I had no idea", he said. Well that's a problem. Agree or disagree with the outcome there is no excuse for not knowing what the material contains that you are going to show 11 or 12 year old kids.

Melissa Fuhriman (in reply to DeeJay Homer): He definitely should've looked through them before passing them out, but there is an expectation that resources supplied by the school have already been checked and approved. The irony here is that the same entity that fired him for showing "inappropriate" art, gave it to him to use in his class. It would be different if he gathered the materials from an outside source

Mary Warner: It’s very ignorant to say art is porn... what they should be worried about is actual pornography they can easy access on their home computers... the problem is that people want to hide beautiful art instead of learning how to see it and respect it!

Renee Simons: How do you not know what the materials you're using in class contains? I would be less irritated with my 6th grader seeing nudity in a painting, than I would at that. Art is subjective, but not doing the pre-work (or feigning ignorance of the content) is unprofessional. Is this a one-off issue, or his typical performance in class?

Joyce Jesmer Wilson: We had a similar situation in Ogden a few years back - a junior high art teacher let a student borrow an art book from the school library. The student’s mother found some of the art offensive and the teacher was disciplined and his license was threatened; cannot remember the results but he wasn’t fired.

Julianne Burnett Nielsen: Kids see that much just in commercials on television. Some parents are ridiculous. Perhaps those parents shower fully clothed and change diapers with their eyes closed.

Eladio Bobadilla: These are the same people calling others "snowflakes."

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