EDITORIAL: Controversy Over Mural in School Hallway

Recently, a three year-old mural that had previously received little attention from the Schreiber community has drawn fierce criticism from a group of conservative students.

These students and the signatories of their petition to amend the mural have interpreted its portrayal of President Barack Obama as an inappropriate endorsement of his political views.

The Schreiber Times believes that the apolitical message of the original artist is clear, and that the school should respect the artist by leaving his original work intact.

President Obama does not appear on the mural as our current president, or as a Democratic president; he appears on the mural as our first black president.  America has elected a president whom it would have subjected to segregation within his own lifetime.

This is not an issue of partisan politics — Mr.  Obama’s presence on the mural is a recognition of what is undeniably a landmark in our nation’s history.

It is likely that students would not object to a mural of John F. Kennedy not because he is another respected president in our nation’s history–not because he was associated with the Democratic party during his tenure.

The Schreiber Times believes this message is clear in the mural’s current state. It was suggested that President Lincoln, a Republican president, be positioned in the mural juxtaposed to President Obama to balance the effect of the mural.

Firstly, the ideals and policies that the Republican party supports are not directly aligned with those held by the Republican party in the nineteenth century — to append the mural with a symbol of conservative ideas, as the students’ petition suggests, would only politicize an apolitical work of art.

This would completely alter the implications of the mural in a way that is directly contradictory to the original artist’s intentions.

The students behind the petition argue that the mural contributes to a learning environment that is hostile to conservative students.

The Schreiber Times believes that the school, with its diverse staff of teachers and student body, promotes an atmosphere that is welcoming to students of all political ideologies and is in no way hostile to students holding minority beliefs

Although our own inquiries into the matter have demonstrated that conservative students at Schreiber are certainly in the minority, we do not believe there is any sort of institutional hostility akin to what is implied by the petition and its authors.

Anyone can take offense to anything.  That does not mean that everything is offensive.

The message behind the mural is clear, and The Schreiber Times believes this controversy is much ado about nothing.

The school should defend the integrity of the mural and respect the artist by keeping it as it is.