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Posted: August 13, 2013 9:06 p.m.

Parent upset by art in AHS classroom

The parent of an Alcovy High School student said she wants artwork that says, "God is Dead" taken down from the walls of her daughter’s classroom.

Crystal Mitchell said her daughter, a sophomore at AHS, complained to her about student artwork displayed in her literature class, which she said was art drawn by students after reading "The Crucible," the 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller.

Mitchell said her daughter told her the collage of art in the classroom made her feel "uncomfortable." Her daughter took photos of the artwork and showed them to Mitchell.

The play is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials. The student artwork, Mitchell said, is "basically a picture of a noose with the wings hanging and then between the wings it says, "God is Dead;" and then there is a picture of the lady … apparently holding like a voodoo doll, and then there is a noose hanging behind her and it says, ‘God is Dead,’" Mitchell said.

"Then there is another picture of the devil. And it says, "The Devil is Alive," and it’s just a collage of these pictures. So, of course, my daughter not knowing the story … and she’s all about church and God. I mean, she’s a great kid … this really made her feel uncomfortable."

Mitchell said the story is "based on witchcraft, and if we can’t preach the Bible in school, why are they teaching this in school?" She said she simply wants the artwork removed.

However, Sherri Davis-Viniard, Newton County School System director of public relations, said there are no plans to remove the artwork.

In a release from the school system, Davis-Viniard noted that the parent did not speak to any administrators regarding her concerns over the artwork — only to the media.

"She called and left a message for the principal, and the principal called her back and left a message on her voice mail. She has not returned the call," Davis-Viniard said.

She added that the artwork was simply "reflecting a major quote and event in the play, ‘The Crucible,’ a piece of literature read by thousands of students across the nation each year."

"The artwork is in no way an attack on religion," she said. "The artwork is hanging among other student artwork in a display that reflects the entire play, ‘The Crucible.’"

Davis-Viniard said school system officials have spoken to attorneys and were informed that it was "absolutely fine to display the artwork, as it is not a religious piece — it’s reflecting literature."

Mitchell said she’s not asking for any punishment to the teacher, but said she still feels the artwork should be taken down. She explained that she felt keeping the artwork up was a double standard.

"They are not allowed to pray in schools; they are not allowed to speak religion," Mitchell said.

"I just personally, I just don’t feel like it has a place on the school walls in a public school.

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