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  • Victor Milani

Nordonia High School Art Students' Projects Cause Controversy

The following is a statement made by Nordonia High School Principal Casey Wright in reference to a comment made on social media by Lisa Gambatese Predovic (Read Below):

On Tuesday, April 20th, during 7th period, the AP Studio Art class started to display their AP Art Portfolio Projects in the 300 hallway. There were seven portfolio projects in total. Some students found this artwork and this portfolio offensive. Pictures were taken and posted on Snapchat. Other students found negative responses to this portfolio offensive and posted on Snapchat in favor of the artwork.

After school, the Nordonia Administrative Team saw the display. The team took down the display.

The words "You can't silence us!" and "Blue Lives Don't Exist" were found written on a bathroom stall in the morning. Pictures of this were shared via Snapchat, with both supportive and non-supportive comments. This graffiti was cleaned and removed immediately, before the end of first period.

During first period on Wednesday, April 21st, NHS Administration met with the AP Studio Art Teacher and Art Department Chair regarding the lack of context provided with such a significant topic and the actual and potential for disruption of school. NHS Administration and the teachers then met with four of the seven AP Studio Art Students, including the artist of the politically driven portfolio. Admin explained to them the importance of context and guided conversations about topics that elicit a strong emotional response to not disrupt learning. The students were very receptive to this explanation.

Just as there are strong opinions on both sides of this topic amongst adults in our society, our students mirror these varying perspectives. Especially in light of the current events of yesterday, NHS Administration proactively touched based with Social Studies and English teachers, Counselors, and Support Staff to identify any students who may need support processing their emotions. Administrators rotated throughout the building and classrooms the entire day, and guidance counselors rotated throughout the lunch shifts. As far as we can tell, the school is running business as usual, with most of the chatter being on social media.

Principal Wright's statement was posted after much social media backlash from the public, including Lisa Gambatese Predovic, who writes:

"A display of hate towards those who you call first to protect you is just wrong! Do you think it's okay that they took their artwork to the bathroom walls, stating "you can't silence us!"? I am so happy that the kids themselves took to voicing their opinions against this behavior!"

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