In a press release, Tallahassee Classical announced that the charter school has retained Alan Lawson, a former Florida Supreme Court Justice to address the false narrative created around a story by the Tallahassee Democrat.
The full statement is provided below.
The Tallahassee Democrat story – published on March 23 – claimed that the “school principal (Hope Carrasquilla) said she was forced to resign after a parent complained a Renaissance art lesson was pornographic.” The alleged characterization of the renaissance art sparked outrage across the globe and resulted in Hillsdale College dropping their affiliation with the school.
The release notes that “the press incorrectly reported that Carrasquilla’s failure to follow school policy and notify parents in advance of the art lesson was a “last straw” in the decision to request her resignation.”
Tallahassee Classical School Continues to Set the Record Straightand Retains Lawson Huck Gonzalez Law Firm for False Media Reports
We will continue to be transparent and ensure the facts are at the forefront of this conversation. A false narrative has sadly spread due to inaccurate reporting. Tallahassee Classical School will continue to teach classical education and the arts as that is the core of our curriculum. Our program is rooted in traditional principles of moral character and civic virtue, portrayed as part of Western Civilization.
Studying the Renaissance, including the art of the period, is part of the curriculum. In fact, Michelangelo’s Statue of David has been a celebrated and powerful part of our lessons. At no time have we viewed that work of art as pornographic. At no time have we considered removing the David statue from our curriculum, and Michelangelo’s David will continue to be studied as part of our curriculum next year, as it has in years past.
We have committed to parents that we will inform them of the upcoming curriculum, as we’ve done every year, in case parents elect to have their scholars skip a particular lesson. Though the school and Principal Carrasquilla did agree to part ways, the press incorrectly reported that Carrasquilla’s failure to follow school policy and notify parents in advance of the art lesson was a “last straw” in the decision to request her resignation. In fact, there was no immediate request for Carrasquilla to resign after she failed to follow the parental notification policy in late February of 2023. In early March there were two additional unrelated incidents of poor job performance by Carrasquilla. It was only after those two subsequent incidents that the Board Chairman requested Carrasquilla’s resignation. Because this is an employment matter, we will not elaborate further.
Again, as this story has made international news and harmed the school, it is important to reiterate that at no time has Tallahassee Classical School characterized Michelangelo’s Statue of David as pornography. Any suggestion otherwise is false and defamatory.
We know engaged parents are key to a successful scholar experience. We respect that parents are the ultimate decision-makers for their children. We know that some parents send their scholars to charter schools, so they have more of a say over what goes on in the classroom. At Tallahassee Classical, we will protect people who are in the minority of the opinion, as much as we’re going to respect the people who are in the majority of the opinion.
The Board of Trustees has engaged the law firm of Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC to provide counsel on the false narrative that is evident in many media reports claiming that our Principal was fired. The law firm includes Alan Lawson, a former Florida Supreme Court Justice who has agreed to assist Tallahassee Classical School in obtaining retractions of false media reports. Further media inquiries on this matter may be directed to info@LawsonHuckGonzalez.com