Thursday, December 14, 2006

Butt it's art!

The Education Wonks are showing their prudish side:
TipWonk KauiMark has pointed us to the incredible story of Virginia art teacher Stephen Murmer. It seems as though Mr. Murmer has been suspended from his classroom because of his peculiar habit of painting pictures with his backside and/or his genitals. (We didn't make this up---- honest!) Of course it goes without saying that the American Civil Liberties Union couldn't wait to get itself involved.
Reading that, you'd think Murmer was dropping his drawers in the classroom. (Crazy ACLU!) But as they say, always follow the link:
To hear the students tell it, Stephen Murmer is a fun, popular art teacher who is always quick to crack a joke. But there is another side to Murmer...Outside of class and under an alter ego, the self-proclaimed "butt-printing artist" creates floral and abstract art by plastering his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas. His cheeky creations sell for hundreds of dollars.

This has not gone over well with Chesterfield County school officials, who placed Murmer on administrative leave from his job at Monacan High School.


Murmer went to great lengths to keep his work life separate from his activities as an artist, said ACLU executive director Kent Willis. As a butt-printing artist, he goes by the name "Stan Murmur," and appears in disguise in photographs and videos promoting his art.

"As a public employee, he has constitutional rights, and he certainly has the right to engage in private legal activities protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution," Willis said.
The students seem to agree. As do I. The school district wants to say that Murmer is "expected to set an example for students through their personal conduct" and "that teachers, like parents, are role models." All of which is correct, and none of which provides a reason to kick Murmer out of the classroom. Unless Virginia has some law against painting with your butt that I don't know about, it's not obvious what's supposed to be the poor example being set. Are we expected to worry that a cohort of kids will grow up to be butt painters?

I don't understand old people.

1 comment:

Bret said...