A UTAH elementary art school teacher lost his job after his fifth and sixth-grade students stumbled upon classical paintings containing nudity.
Mateo Rueda’s students were asked to embark on a colour study exercise when they went to the library to sift through art books and postcards for paintings that fitted their assignments when they made the discovery of the “adults-only” material.
Explaining that the images were there long before he was, Rueda said “I was surprised about those images being there”.
He said he later took the images away and explained that nudity was normal in the world of art.
“I explained to the whole class that art can sometimes show images that are not always comfortable to all, that art is better understood when placed in its proper context, that the human body is often portrayed in art, and that the images in the school collection are icons of art history and a patrimony of humanity,” he said on Facebook, as quoted by Dead State.
Despite his explanation, some parents lodged a complaint with the school, which dismissed him from his job on Dec 8, some four days after the incident.
The paintings that created the stir were Iris Tree by Amedeo Modigliani, Francois Boucher’s Brown Odalisque, and The Valpincon Bather by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Fox 13 reported.
After receiving a report on the matter, the police looked into the case.
Sheriff Chad Jensen was quoted as saying the complaining parent and student, as well as principal Jenifer Buist were interviewed, adding the postcards in question had been part of school property for a few years.
No charges were pressed against the teacher as the images were not pornography.
The teacher said he hoped he can appeal the decision to terminate him.
“Who knows if I can be hired back,” he said.
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