The San Francisco school board wants a “degrading” mural of former President George Washington painted over and voted unanimously to spend $600,000 to make it happen.
“It’s always an issue when anyone wants to remove or cover or displace art,” Board Vice President Mark Sanchez said to the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner reports. “But there are countervailing issues we had to look at as well. We believe students shouldn’t be exposed to violent imagery — that it’s degrading.”
Russian-born artist Victor Arnautoff painted the mural in 1936 as part of a New Deal arts program. One of the paintings displayed in George Washington High School shows the first president standing by a dead Native American as he points to frontiersmen. Another painting shows Washington at Mount Vernon among his slaves.
An advisory group called the mural “offensive” and recommended its removal at an estimated cost of $600,000.
Sanchez said the high cost was “reparations” for past wrongs by Americans.
The San Francisco Board of Education unanimously voted to have a high school to paint over a mural of George Washington after they determined the mural contained "violent imagery" and was "degrading."
It will cost $600k to paint over it.https://t.co/9lqtPNvLeB
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 28, 2019
According to the Media Research Center, the school board could wind up spending as much as “$875,000 just to cover up an 84-year-old mural of George Washington that a few activists have deemed ‘traumatizing.’”
Per the report, the funding could otherwise be allocated to pay for the salaries of more than a dozen teachers:
According to the National Review’s James Sutton, who lives in the community, “the majority of students were against its removal or just apathetic” at a recent school board meeting. Even still, the board was pressured into voting to cover up the mural by a handful of protesters claiming to be triggered at having to look at an accurate depiction of history.
Sutton adds that “in a school district facing a severe shortage of teachers, those funds could pay the salaries of around 14 first-year teachers.”