The Laurence Jackson School in the United Kingdom has apologised after teachers censored a student’s artwork celebrating same-sex love.
The student, Megan Angus, had left the work at school following the completion of her GCSEs last year and only made the discovery when came back for it this week. Teachers at the school, just outside of Middlesborough, reportedly put seven censor stickers over her art, which showed women kissing, holding hands, and partial nudity on a background of the pride flag.
The move sparked a backlash against the school, triggering the apology, as well as a denial on the school’s part that the censorship was homophobic in nature.
The school did, however, admit it may have been “overzealous” in its actions.
“Laurence Jackson School is in no way homophobic; sexually explicit images of any nature would have been censored if displayed,” they said.
“In retrospect, we may have been overzealous in censoring some images within the piece, and for that, we apologise for any offence caused.”
There remains, however, some discrepancy between the extent of the damage and the reason for the censoring.
School officials told Pink News that the images were covered because they were sexually explicit, but Angus insisted the decision was “homophobic.”
Additionally, according to Angus, the censored strips were stuck down with glue. However, the school claimed, “a censored strip of paper was Blu-tacked over [certain] areas.”
The school also said the images may “upset” younger students.
The 16-year-old student received a B grade for the artwork, which she had created under the brief “outsiders.” She said:
“I can’t see why they censored it. When you go to an art gallery, they don’t censor them there.”
Angus also told Pink News she depicted ” same-sex relationships [in her art] as they seem to be out of place in society.”
“I wanted to get across that it shouldn’t be frowned upon and it shows girls can be together. It is something I feel passionate about.”
After spending 40 hours on the piece, Angus said she was extremely unhappy to find her work tampered with.
In its defence, the school noted that Angus had received a decent grade for her efforts.
“This piece of artwork contributed positively to the student achieving a good grade at GCSE,” it told Pink News. “In no way was she discouraged from producing work of this nature and her artistic talents were celebrated by our art department.”
— Tom Herbert (@TRHerbert) January 12, 2018