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September 26, 2006

An Absurd Firing

From the stupid school board file.

An award-winning Texas art teacher who was reprimanded after one of her fifth-grade students saw a nude sculpture during a trip to a museum has lost her job.

The school board in Frisco has voted not to renew Sydney McGee's contract after 28 years. She has been on administrative leave.

The teacher took her students on an approved field trip to a Dallas museum, and now some parents are upset.

The Fisher Elementary School art teacher came under fire last April when she took 89 fifth-graders on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. Parents raised concerns over the field trip after their children reported seeing a nude sculpture at the art museum.

The parents had signed permission slips allowing their children to take part in the field trip.

McGee's lawyer said the principal at Fisher Elementary School admonished her after a parent complained that a student had seen nude art.

McGee said the principal had urged her to take the students to the museum.

Now, McGee, who was honored with a Star Teacher Award two years ago, is on paid administrative leave until her contract with the school district expires in March.

So let me get this straight – the teacher was disciplined because there was art at the art museum? Like nobody knew that there might be a non-pornographic nude sculpture or painting somewhere in the building? What sort of morons are we talking about here?

But some parents are fighting back.

Other parents are worried about the future of the art program at the school, which they cite as a reason for moving into the neighborhood.

"Our main concern right now is what's going to happen to the children and what's going to happen to the art program at Fisher Elementary. It is the best art program. That's the reason we moved to this neighborhood. It's because of the teachers," said Shannon Allen, a parent. "It was a principal-approved trip. What's the big deal?”

I agree. It is not like the teacher brought a Penthouse into the classroom or stood the kids in front of an erotic sculpture. They passed by something in the museum – a public place – and caught a glimpse of a work of art.

Sometimes I’m sort of ashamed to be an educator in Texas.





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