A public high school in California is thinking about removing a mural of George Washington from the halls of George Washington High School because it “traumatizes students and community members.”
Laura Dudnick, a spokeswoman for the school district, provided a statement to the College Fix revealing that a “Reflection and Action Working Group” was convened to discuss the issue.
“SFUSD convened a ‘Reflection and Action Working Group’ that was comprised of members of the local Native American community, students, school representatives, district representatives, local artists and historians,” the emailed statement said.
Ultimately, the group argued the mural should be archived to “protect” students.
“At its conclusion the group voted and the majority recommended that the ‘Life of Washington’ mural be archived and removed because the mural does not represent SFUSD values,” the statement added.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, historian Fergus M. Bordewich argued history is being erased before our very eyes.
“The mural’s painter, Victor Arnautoff, was a protege of Diego Rivera and a communist. He included those images not to glorify Washington, but rather to provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy. The scene with the dead Native American, for instance, calls attention to the price of ‘manifest destiny,’” Bordewich writes.
He adds: “Arnautoff’s murals also portray the slaves with humanity and the several live Indians as vigorous and manly.”
Removing the art “betrays a very troubling intolerance of art and the ambiguity of art and the aspirations of art.”
Dudnick, the previously mentioned school district spokesman, said the mural’s future remains uncertain.
“The superintendent and staff are now reviewing the recommendation and considering the best course of action,” she wrote to the College Fix. “At this time there hasn’t yet been any recommendation put forth before the SF Board of Education on this matter.”
America's public schools are in serious trouble.