NYC school administrators remove students’ diversity mural

The Pink Times
The Pink Times August 5, 2021
Updated 2021/08/05 at 9:01 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A Brooklyn school administration’s decision to remove a mural that a group of sixth-graders had painted at their school to capture its diversity has faced criticism from parents and is being investigated by the city Department of Education.

The administration at Park Slope Public School 295 deemed the mural to be too divisive, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

The artwork was a collaboration between the school and the community art organization Groundswell. The students worked virtually with an artist to design the mural, which was supposed to capture the school’s diversity and last year’s racial justice protests.

It featured images of Black girls wearing crowns alongside messages like, “Your silence will not protect you,” and, “What else is possible?” Painted in-between the girls is two multi-racial hands clasped together, under a sun, building, and a gathering of people holding signs that read “BLM,” and, “LGBTQ+,” among other phrases.

District Superintendent Anita Skop, and other school administrators, objected to parts of the mural, and had it taken down five days after it went up.

In texts and emails obtained by the newspaper, Skop said the art work was not “welcoming” or “inclusive” enough. Skop did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said they are investigating and “will take appropriate disciplinary action.” She said the students will be included in the process of designing a new mural.

“Our schools must be safe and inclusive environments and we’re very sorry this happened to our students,” Filson said.

Jasmine Gellizeau-Ip, 11, told the newspaper she worked on the mural.

“I was mostly proud of showing how I felt about that world and putting it into a piece of paper for everyone in my school to see … and be proud of their differences,” she said.

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