Target: James Trodden, principal of Onoway Junior-Senior High School
Goal: Don’t censor a new school mural that shows two boys kissing.
A new student-painted high school mural showing two boys kissing could be permanently covered or removed from display after the school received a number of complaints about its “controversial” content. Censoring Onoway Junior-Senior High School’s mural would be a regressive and homophobic blow against a community that needs more representation and acceptance in high schools, not less. Demand that the school keep the mural the way it is.
After Canada’s Onoway Junior-Senior High School unveiled a new hallway wall mural by student artist Kaela Wilton showing two boys kissing, the school began to receive complaints about it. Though it is unclear if the complaints came from students or parents, the school reacted by covering the mural with a bulletin board under the flimsy pretense that the school has a ban on kissing between students, so a mural depicting kissing should also be banned—even though the mural’s subject matter was already approved of by school authorities. While the bulletin board was promptly ripped down by students in retaliation, the school management is now mulling over how to proceed and is debating whether the mural should be removed or left as-is.
Censorship of totally harmless artwork is ridiculous. When that artwork is advocating for acceptance and pluralism, censorship moves from ridiculous to dangerous. Sign the petition below to demand that the principle, James Trodden, allow to the mural to remain displayed as it was always intended to be.
Dear Principal Trodden,
I am writing you today regarding the ridiculous controversy that has recently sprung up around Kaela Wilton’s mural. Complaints filed against the mural are blatantly homophobic and, frankly, should be ignored be default. The fact that your school has given them legitimacy is astounding.
Wilton’s mural was designed to, in her own words, show support for gay students and for students who have not yet come out of the closet. It is supremely ironic that your response to it has highlighted why that kind of artwork, and the message of equality and acceptance it communicates, is so necessary in the first place.
If her mural showed a boy and girl kissing, I would hazard to guess that this controversy would never have been stirred up, and that the mural would remain up on the wall despite whatever school rule there is prohibiting kissing in the hallways. Indeed, you yourself approved the artwork in the first place, and have only backpedaled after your (correct) decision came under scrutiny by a few bigots.
Censoring this mural sends a powerful message that non-heterosexual students are worth less than their heterosexual peers. It is as simple as that. I demand that you leave the mural in place and unchanged, despite whatever misguided criticism you have received for it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: See-ming Lee via Wikimedia Commons