Opinion: Tallahassee Hurt by Flawed “David” Reporting

Opinion: Tallahassee Hurt by Flawed “David” Reporting

The fallout from a recent Tallahassee Democrat story, which implied a principal at a local charter school was forced to resign due to an art lesson that included Michelangelo’s nude sculpture of “David”, made it all the way to Italy before the truth was discovered.

The implication of the story – which was that parents at a conservative charter school are not sophisticated enough to appreciate renaissance art – played well among the national and world-wide media as celebrities denigrated Tallahassee and Florida for a lack of culture.

Even the Mayor of Florence, Italy commented on the issue. More on him later.

However, four days after the story was published, facts revealed that the headline and the story were misleading and incomplete.

The latest information indicate that the principal was forced to resign because she was not good at her job, not because of nude art.

Through research -which takes time – TR found that about four months ago the Tallahassee Classical Board passed a resolution requiring the principal to check the grammar of all communications that were sent out by her office. Not exactly a vote of confidence.

Then at the Board meeting on Tuesday after her forced resignation, several teachers publicly blamed the principal for the turnover of teachers at the school. In addition, one former teacher questioned the principal’s interaction with ESE students.

Based on media reports, only one former teacher defended the principal at the Board meeting.

The final straw for the principal seems have to come when she failed to send out a parental notification letter related to the sixth grade art lesson, a notification letter that was sent out last year without incident.

Critics have asked why does a classical school need permission from parents to show nude art to sixth graders?

For the answer to that question, we need to return to Italy.

The Mayor of Florence, after made aware of the false narrative related to the story, was quoted as saying, “A Florida teacher was forced to quit for showing students photos of Michelangelo’s David. Mistaking art for pornography is just ridiculous.”

However, what the Mayor of Florence did not talk about was the time that the government of Italy covered nude statues when dignitaries from Muslim countries visited Italy.

In fact, during a November 2015 visit to Florence by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Italy’s premier Matteo Renzi made sure a nude statue was covered. According to reports, this was done to acknowledge and respect Muslim beliefs.

How is this relevant to the Tallahassee Classical school?

The Tallahassee Classical charter school accepts students through a lottery. This results in a diverse student body with diverse religious and political beliefs and does include Muslim students.

So notification letters sent by the school are an effort to respect the beliefs of a diverse set of parents.

The story by the Tallahassee Democrat went beyond the nuts and bolts of reporting about a principal that was forced to resign and instead produced a report with a sensational hook without all the facts.

The approach was successful from Gannett’s perspective, but ignored one of the major ethical tenets of journalism: “Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.”

Unfortunately, the Tallahassee Democrat – not unlike other news outlets – chose clicks and sensationalism over ethical journalism and it has hurt Tallahassee.

21 Responses to "Opinion: Tallahassee Hurt by Flawed “David” Reporting"

  1. I suspect that the details of this came out later after the story went viral because it happened so fast and the school didn’t realize a public statement was needed. It turned into the typical circus used to smear the other side. This did seem exaggerated for the fun of poking at “backward Florida conservatives”–of which there are plenty, but a classical school probably caters more to the European art appreciating side of conservatism that the school send founded on. Being a charter school (political associations), it’s not hard to see how this could be used. Too bad. It seems like a good school, and I wish it was around when I was a kid.

  2. The ham-fisted and fully left-lean the Democrat doused this story with was obvious. I appreciate a few of their reporters who are solid writers but too many of them just try to woke you to death. It was fun to watch this unfold as it went international and got a life of its own with all the cute smirking. Of course none of it was really an accurate portrayal of events..but when has that stopped the Gannet/Democrat?

    I get an odd sense of satisfaction when I drive by their old place on Magnolia and see it getting repurposed. Guess they’ll continue to blame the new digital world for their continuing financial downfall and not their recent legacy of mediocre coverage and reporting of our community.

  3. The truth is when working in a HIGH Stressed abusive environment that you do not receive support from your leaders, human mistakes are going to happen. Barney and Matt are mean and abusive. Listening to board meetings they have run off a minimum of 12 staunch school supporters in the past year. 2 headmasters, Business manager, Hillsdale, 2 founders of the school and numerous fellow board members. Ms. Carrasquilla was in a loosing situation that she could not possibly truly support the teachers and scholars because of the abuse. The environment is the “Abuse will continue until the attitude improves”.

  4. Most of Tallahasee is fairly smart and educated. Some of Tallahassee is “old school” hicks from the sticks, stuck in the 1950s. It’s embarrassing to remind the world that those Floridians are so backward, but there you are.

    It’s hilarious that a few prudes are objecting to a masterpiece done by the same artist that Popes had commissioned to create art for the Vatican, which is one of the most sacred Christian sites in the world. David is also a biblical figure, revered by ACTUAL Christians everywhere. I mean, duh.

    If you are so worried kids seeing naked people, turn off your TV, don’t watch movies and forbid them to use the computer–forever.

  5. Who is this “Hope Carrasquilla” person? I see no mention of the name of the “principal” in question in this article. Did some of you just actually dox the person you seem to care so much about?

    Neither do I take this article as one that is focused on the principal’s incompetence or personality. The article seems to focus on the incompetence (or laziness) of some so-called journalists – and from my perspective – the malicious information manipulation by the Tallahassee Marxicrat to align with an left-wing agenda/narrative aimed at throwing shade at Christians and the ever-growing popularity of private/charter/Christian schooling.

    As for the less than germane “forest through the trees” slight… well, they make for a nice log cabin in he mountains and a warm fit pit.

    My 10 to your 1 says Hanna will hire this person and make a public statement about it too.

  6. Really disappointed you decided to make this a thinly veiled hit piece against Hope Carrasquilla. I’ve know Hope for 30 years, and the only reason those teachers would speak out against her would be her expectations for excellence were higher than those teachers wished to attain.

    Do better.

  7. Mr Ed

    You can’t see the forest for the trees. The classical school board overreacted and made Tallahassee look bad. Trying to protect the board at this point is ridiculous. It’s dysfunctional and that’s where the changes need to be made. Ditto for the CSC Board.

  8. As someone who taught there very recently, Hope was not a good person to put in charge. When the board promoted her, I said it was a foolish decision. No surprise they ended up regretting that choice. That being said, she cared about the teachers, but had a poor way of demonstrating it. She would, however, protect us from the crazies, which I appreciated.

    Now, Barney and Matt Mohler are the reason the school is failing. Think about it, the school has gotten worse each year and they are the highest admin/board still in command. They are self-serving, arrogant, do not think they can be wrong, and although they may not be salaried, there are other ways to wield their power to earn a cut…Tim, Louis, and Pam must stand up and do what’s right. I deeply, deeply disdain the fact that the board has not made a motion to remove either man yet. Carrasquilla had to go, but she was not the source of the problems.

  9. Mary Magdalene is not referred to or called a called a prostitute ANYWHWERE in the Scriptures. Church Tradition yes Scripture no.

  10. The story the Tallahassee Marxicrat intentionally and misleadingly crafted was not intended to heap praise on, nor build support for, the incompetent teacher… it was crafted in a weak attempt to throw shade on the wholesome and family values embraced by Christians and the ever-growing popularity of private/charter/Christian schooling, with a surreptitious slight to those who oppose the Public Indoctrination System’s support of the grooming of our children by the Marxicrats and the GP (Gender-Pretender) cult.

    Start dealing with reality people… before it’s too late.

  11. Fun Fact:

    Michelangelo’s David, a biblical figure, has heart-shaped pupils in the eyes. If you look closely in this picture you can see it. Perhaps that is the true message we should take away.

  12. Our local leftist media (other than our hero Steve Stuart) took the story to their perverted sexual outlook on life in general and their indoctinaration into their dangerous sexual grooming procilivities of our childern in particular. They all jumped on the bandwagon and ran with that perverted and incorrect interpertation of the story. Taking particular delight in trashing the only normal good guy they could locate Barney Bishop. Barney I beg of you to sue them in a court of law and “stick it to the media”.

  13. It was ridiculous for this teacher to be fired over a classical art lesson. The Tallahassee Democrats version was in my opinion the more truthful version.

    When you go to church on Easter Sunday and the chairman of this board of this classical school hears that Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, was chosen by Jesus to spread the word that He is Risen is he going to fire the preacher?

    This article does not say that the public speakers far outweighed the few teachers at the public meeting. That is misleading.

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree

    Thank you TR for the article anyway even though it is now old news.

  14. Lol. Total nonsense. Only after world wide ridicule and condemnation do the “real” reasons come out. She couldn’t spell relaces Barney Bishop’s quote, “Parents are supreme.” Three parents out of hundreds complained. You left out the part that many parents were disgusted not being notified of the firing.

    If true? If she really couldn’t spell? Next time they interview for the position I suggest cue cards with a mix of works of art, stick figures and real porn asking: Is this good or is it bad? They can end with a spelling and grammar test.

    The American Taliban got caught in their own ignorance.

  15. I think I am more worried about the government of Italy covering nude statues when dignitaries from Muslim countries visit Italy. It is part of ITALY’s culture and if the Muslims are “Offended” by it, they should stay home.

    Now here in the US, I can see why the School would want to notify Parents about it if there are Muslims going there but, wouldn’t it have been easier to just study a DIFFERENT Statue?

  16. BRAVO! A magnificent piece of journalism; Kudos to Steve Stewart and the TR team. This will likely give Stupidintendant Hanna and his Public Indoctrination System Fool Board heart palpitations… and not the good kind I might add.

    As I’ve stated many times, organizations like the Tallahassee Marxicrat and the rest of the left-wing liberal lunatics are not at all “News” organizations… they are Marxicrat Political Action Committees masquerading as news organizations.

    It’s refreshing to know we have a REAL News Operation we can count on here in Tallahassee.

    Again; Bravo TR

  17. Great investigative journalism, Steve! Thank you! I stopped subscribing to the Tallahassee Democrat a long time ago and have no desire to read it. Apparently many others feel the same as it no longer publishes here in Tallahassee, and I believe they have sold their long-time building on Magnolia Drive. Keep up your dedication and hard work with TR!

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