Friday, September 29, 2006

"Starving for One's Art" to the Extreme

I'll admit that I don't have all the details on this story--nobody does, except the people involved--but if teacher Sydney McGee is correctly stating the reason for her dismissal, it's very troublnig:
An elementary school art teacher who has been publicly at odds with the Frisco school district over a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art is no longer in front of a classroom.

The school district placed Sydney McGee on leave with pay Friday afternoon. After a special school board meeting Monday night about Ms. McGee, Superintendent Rick Reedy said he would recommend that her contract not be renewed when it expires at the end of the school year.

[...] Ms. McGee, a 28-year veteran teacher, contends she was retaliated against after a parent complained that a student saw a nude statue during a field trip to the museum in April.
District officials have repeatedly pointed to other performance issues and said the trip didn't spark the reprimands.
So there's the trick, I guess--until we know what those "other performance issues" are, it's hard to know for sure what to make of this story. I missed her appearance on Ernie and Jay the other day, but I did hear a call from another teacher at her school that sounded almost creepy, with that teacher saying that it would be "exciting" when the truth came out; she seemed almost giddy that McGee was being let go. All I can say is, if one upset parent (who presumably signed a permission slip for the field trip, and should have known of the potential to see a nude figure at an art museum) can dictate the procedure for an entire district, then Frisco, we have a problem.

At any rate, read the whole story if you haven't already done so, and I'll try to update this post when the rest of the story is reveaed. (Hopefully, our correspondent in the Frisco bureau of The Musings, Gary P., can shed some more light on this subject for us.)

UPDATE: This story has now made it into the New York Times, and Althouse has blogged aboout it as well. (Some of her commenters don't have too many kind things to say about Texas and Texans.)

He just thought he had a leg up on the cops: A guy carrying crystal meth decided to hide it in his prosthetic leg, but police found it anyway.

My favorite headline of the week so far: Three-year-old buys pink convertible on Internet. That'll teach Mom to leave her computer signed into eBay when the young'un can hit the "buy now" button so easily...

2 comments:

Gary P. said...

I don't think anyone really knows what the entire story is, apart from the teacher, her lawyer(s), and FISD administration. I admit it's not very media-friendly of the school board to talk in vague generalities about "other performance issues unrelated to the trip," but the fact is if they aired all their dirty laundry on her in public the two questions that would come up would be

1) OK, so why was she still teaching in the first place?

and

2) How quickly is she going to sue for slander, unlawful termination, breach of confidentiality, harassment, etc, etc?

There is speculation that some of the kids were making lewd comments about some of the nude art and the teacher either joined in with it or didn't stop it or something like that, which I would find a lot more believable as an actionable offense than just the mere presence of nekkidness.

I'm just glad FISD has so much of my tax money that they're in the position of being able to pay teachers to not teach. Don't you wish you could get a sweet gig like that, Kev?

For people who want to do more reading of innuendo, staking of moral high ground, and aspersion casting, check out these lengthy threads on frisco-online.com:

Art Teacher Story

Art Teacher Story Goes National

Frisco ISD: 5th Graders Saw Nude Art

Ms. Worley said...

If I hear another word about this story I will go into an all-consuming tailspin of depression.

That being said, Dr. Reedy, the HHIC over in Frisco ISD is a family friend and a supporter of the arts, so I am certain that there are other fabulous reasons for the woman's termination.