A Tallahassee, Florida principal resigned this month after parents were angered that students learned about Michaelangelo’s David statue in art class. Now, the mayor of Florence has personally invited the school official to visit the city, where the statue is on display.
While many parents found the sculpture of a nude man “phonographic,” it is considered one of the most iconic pieces of Renaissance art. Still, parents complained that sixth graders at Tallahassee Classical School should not have been shown a photo of the statue and Principal Hope Carrasquilla resigned.
The mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, heard the news all the way in Italy and tweeted that “mistaking art for pornography is just ridiculous.” Nardella invited the school official to Florence to recognize her on behalf of the city.
David, etched in marble between 1501 and 1504, is the main attraction at Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia. Another series of nude sculptures by Michaelangelo, referred to as prisoners or slaves, is also on display at the museum. The artist is known for many significant works of art, including the Sistine Chapel ceiling at the Vatican.
Tallahassee Classical School is a charter school that opened in 2020 and is affiliated with a conservative Christian college, Hillsdale College. The school’s board chair Barney Bishop told CBS News that David is taught to students every year, but the administration notifies parents first and this year, a letter was not sent out.
Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year, allowing parents to weigh in about school lessons. The bill limits discussions on gender and sexuality in schools. Several other recent bills in the state would limit what is discussed in school settings – including one that limits teaching about menstruation.
Bishop said 97% of parents agreed to the lesson this year, but the 3% of parents who did not agree were “entitled to have that opinion,” he said.
Carrasquilla was asked to resign over “a number of other issues,” Bishop told CBS News. Bishop said the David photo was the latest incident under Carrasquilla and claimed that she blamed it for her resignation so the whole truth wouldn’t be reported.
The school posted about the David incident on Facebook, sharing a photo of the statue and writing: “We have always shared David with our scholars and will continue to do so. We will follow our policy and notify our parents in advance so they can make their own decision if it is age appropriate for their child.”
CBS News reached out to Carrasquilla for further comment and is awaiting response.