‘Shocked’: Parents upset over sexually explicit art assignment at CMS middle school

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg middle school principal is promising to take action over an art assignment given to some students.

Parents told Channel 9 their sixth-graders at Kennedy Middle School were assigned to study an artist’s work that they say is too graphic for preteens. The district has pulled the imagery, but some parents still have questions.

A piece of art by Kara Walker, as seen below, was posted to Canvas for sixth-grade art students. It’s sexually explicit, and Samantha Davis said she can’t believe her daughter and classmates were presented it.

“I was shocked. I didn’t think I needed to look up what my child was learning in an art class,” she said.

Davis said she made the discovery after seeing one of her daughter’s assignments and was told they are studying the artist in class.

“I understand the topic being appropriate for college and adults. I don’t find this artist and what she depicts as something age-appropriate for middle school kids to see,” Davis said.

The principal of Kennedy Middle School sent a message to parents about the incident saying, “It was brought to my attention that there were some inappropriate artist images that were inadvertently included in a 6th grade art lesson while the teacher is on maternity leave. I worked with the art teacher to have the pictures removed from the CANVAS platform.”

Davis wants to know who approved the assignment and why the artist was chosen for sixth graders.

“To just pull it is nice, that’s great -- but it shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” Davis said.

The principal sent a message to parents saying they will review digital protocols with teachers and ensure they only post vetted images and links.

Full statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools:

“The digital and print resources teachers use within their classroom or on assignments should be vetted and researched before making them available to students. In this instance, there was insufficient review and inappropriate images became apparent when viewed beyond icons that included less detail. The link was immediately removed so students could not have access to the site. Parents were informed of the oversight and the process has been reiterated to staff.”

(WATCH BELOW: Parents say quiz at local HS asks students about being a drug dealer, assassination business)