School put censor stickers on student’s school artwork because it showed lesbian lovers
A school has faced backlash after it put censors over the artwork of a GCSE student because it showed lesbian lovers kissing.
Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough, just outside of Middlesborough, placed seven censor stickers on the artwork which celebrated same-sex love.
Officials at the school claimed that they covered the “sexually explicit” art in order to avoid “upsetting” younger students.
However, the artist, Megan Angus, said that the decision to censor her art was nothing less than “homophobic”.
The 16-year-old explained that she realised the work had been censored after she went to pick it up this week after leaving it with the school when she finished last year.
The work, which was given a B grade, showed women holding hands, kissing and some partial nudity.
The Pride flag breaks up the piece which Angus said she was inspired to create as her briefing called for an exploration of “outsiders”.
She said: “We had to do an ‘outsider’ piece and had five options.
“I did same-sex relationships as they seem to be out of place in society.
“I wanted to get across that it shouldn’t be frowned upon and it shows girls can be together. It is something I feel passionate about.”
The former secondary school student, who now works as a lifeguard in a local pool, spent 40 hours on the piece and could not understand the school’s motivation to censor it.
“I can’t see why they censored it. When you got to an art gallery, they don’t censor them there,” Angus added.
She added that the stickers were stuck down with glue so she could not remove the censors without ruining the painting.
A spokesperson for the school has since admitted that the move may have been “overzealous” but that any “sexually explicit” images would have been censored regardless of the underlying messages of the work.
They also said that the censor stickers were stuck down with blu-tack, not glue.
The spokesperson said: “Due to the sexually explicit nature of some of the drawings in the student’s work, a censored strip of paper was Blu-tacked over these areas.
“As a secondary school, we needed to be mindful of the impact this may have on younger students.
“This piece of artwork contributed positively to the student achieving a good grade at GCSE.
“In no way was she discouraged from producing work of this nature and her artistic talents were celebrated by our art department.”
They added that the school was not homophobic and apologised for giving that impression.
“Laurence Jackson School is in no way homophobic; sexually explicit images of any nature would have been censored if displayed.
“In retrospect, we may have been overzealous in censoring some images within the piece, and for that, we apologise for any offence caused,” they said.
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, told PinkNews that after attending Edinburgh Pride last summer he returned to school with a small Pride badge on his uniform.
The circular badge is smaller than a £2 coin and has a heart with rainbow stripes.
However, St. Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, West Lothian told the student that he could not wear the badge.
The teen told us that the instructions came to him on behalf of the head teacher, Mr Sharkey.
He was not initially told why he could not wear the badge and grew to be upset.
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“I was given no reason why, then after I got upset about it I was told by the teacher who told me to take it off that the school had ‘no problem’ with me being gay, but however I’m ‘promoting’ it by wearing the badge,” the teen said.
Despite the school displaying posters promoting “love, faith, equality, inclusiveness, hope and respect”, the student was told that he did not need a badge to display his Pride.
“I was told by the senior staff member that the school was okay with my sexuality, I just can’t promote ‘it’.
“I said to her that I wore the badge because it was the only place where I feel safe about my sexuality and she told me ‘you don’t need to wear a badge for that’.”
The whole situation has left the student feeling uncomfortable in his school.
“I feel shocked by the whole thing as well as scared as I no longer feel comfortable going to school.
“I feel I am going into a place where there’s homophobia from staff members. Which feels much more scarier than when I encountered the same from other pupils,” he explained.