If you are neutral in situations of racial injustice, you have chosen the side of the racist.
At this point, schools officials are making it hard to believe that classrooms are safe and equitable for all children.
A Maine high school student staged a schoolwide walkout when her anti-racism art was removed from the school’s library following complaints.
According to the Associated Press, York High School senior Claudia Corcoran created a two-panel painting that describes racism as a present-day American issue. Corcoran demanded during the walkout on Sept. 29 that her work be put back on display.
The York School Department administration ordered the school should remove the display after complaints from parents, students and faculty. But more complaints on social media followed after its removal.
The administration said that the artwork was removed because the librarian did not get approval to display it. But in the past, librarians have been allowed to decide to hang student art without permission from school officials.
In a statement, the YSD Superintendent Lou Goscinski said that the student’s art isn’t an issue “but once we display it, it becomes the speech of the school.”
AP reports that the school principal, Karl Francis, said Corcoran’s art display was part of a school project for students to create something inspired by a book, according to the Portsmouth Herald. Francis issued a statement following the walkout, saying that the art would be put back. The school will also conduct an equity audit, AP notes.
“We welcome the school’s decision to return the artwork to its display, and applaud the student for her courage in standing up for civil rights and justice,” CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ismail Allison said, AP writes.
It’s alarming to think that artwork calling out racism isn’t something the school would like to display. More than anything, I think students of color would at least feel encouraged that their school can’t be pressured into staying quiet about something that affects their well-being outside of the classrooms.