Emma Wright was fired from her art education position at Huxlow Science College in Northamptonshire, England in 2018 for allowing students to photograph themselves in sexual positions in 2017. Although the high school teens involved have now graduated, the details of this strange case were delayed due to the pandemic. Now that a full investigation has been released the art teacher is banned from teaching.
Artistic expression is subjective. Many great works of art feature nudity and artists in general regard the human body as a constant source of inspiration. While some schools do offer life drawing courses, these are carefully planned and presented in a closed setting with professionalism and maturity in mind. The art teacher in question did not alert parents to her project beforehand, nor did she focus on the value of the human body. Her photography project, instead, encouraged underage students to sexually pose topless, “simulate masturbation” and other adult acts.
The art teacher was reported to the Teaching Regulation Agency after the images were discovered by the schools art and design authority. Mrs. Wright was fired 4 years ago but the decision to ban her from teaching for at least two years has just now been ruled. She went before a panel of teaching officials and noted that the project was not intended to be sexual. She also admitted that after reviewing the materials, it is apparent that the students believed it to be and should have been instructed toward more appropriate content.
Mrs. Wright has been outspoken against her firing. She contacted government officials over the incident and even vowed to never teach again. This perfectly displays how differently teachers and parents view educational needs. While many art teachers support freedom of expression, the boundaries between age-appropriate content and teaching methods have been blurring for years in the western world.
In the United States, parents have fought long and hard to protect their children from being oversexualized at younger ages. The debate over when and how sexual education should be taught is ongoing being that gender theory is often used to introduce inappropriate subjects to children. Just last month a student was harassed out of a UK school for questioning gender theory. In Sweden, LGBTQ content has been taught for years. Parents in France had to boycott schools in order to have identity politics removed from classrooms and German teachers and performers banned together to decry what they deemed “gender nonsense.” Many parents have linked gender theory to grooming because so many teachers, like UK art teacher Mrs. Wright, allow gender identity lessons to focus on sexuality, sexual expression, and even promote childhood sexual exploration.
While different areas have varying laws regarding the legal age of consent, schools are places where children go to expand their understanding of the world. The constant emphasis on sex and sexuality has taken over so many classrooms that an art teacher couldn’t differentiate between the ethical limits which separate a simple picture of the naked human body and graphic images of teenage girls pretending to masturbate. Educators who do not have the ability to discern between the two are finding it more difficult to work in the teaching profession and many parents are thankful for that.