A Portland Substitute Teacher Was Suspended For Showing A Frida Kahlo Documentary
Frida Kahlo was no stranger to controversy during her heyday — and she STILL continues to make waves. This time she had help from a substitute teacher for Portland Public Schools. The sub was recently suspended for teaching her class about Frida. Sounds harmless, right? Not according to some. Here’s what went down:
An unnamed substitute teacher was suspended without pay after showing a high school class a documentary about Frida Kahlo.
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Like, what the hell?
The documentary in question was “The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo,” which is available on YouTube.
PBS created the documentary with the intention of it being taught in schools. There’s even an official educational guide on the PBS site. According to Willamette Weekly, the students in the class were in a program for those in “federal immigration limbo.”
According to a Facebook post by Portland Teacher Association President Gwen Sullivan, a school administrator believed Frida’s paintings “were too violent and sexual.”
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There were no students younger than 13 years old in the class, but an administrator still deemed the content too explicit.
Sullivan changed her Facebook profile picture to Frida Kahlo in a show of solidarity with the teacher who faced the suspension.
Credit: Gwendolyn Sullivan / Facebook
“I’m changing my profile picture until one of our teachers is taking off unpaid administrative leave for showing high school students a documentary on Frida Kahlo,” Sullivan wrote when she posted the photo.
People made enough noise that the unidentified teacher was reinstated. She is also receiving back pay for the days she was suspended without pay. #SiSePuede
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“After an administrator deemed the documentary too controversial, the District took this educator off the substitute list, which is the equivalent to being placed on administrative leave without pay,” Jennifer Lewis, an acquaintance of Sullivan, posted to Facebook as a follow up. “This teacher has been a respected substitute teacher in our district for 19 years, and what the District did is just flat out wrong! I’m happy to report that as of this afternoon this person has been added back to the substitute list pending the investigation, at this time I can’t fully disclose the details but if I could, I know you’d be outraged.”