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  1. #1
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    Va. school board fires ‘butt-printing’ art teacher

    Va. school board fires ‘butt-printing’ art teacher

    RICHMOND, Va. - An art teacher whose off-hours work as a so-called “butt-printing artist” became widely circulated among high school students has been fired.

    The Chesterfield County School Board, in a unanimous voice vote, fired Stephen Murmer at a meeting Tuesday night, spokeswoman Debra Marlow said.

    In its decision, the board reasoned that students have a right to receive their education in an environment free from distractions and disruptions, Marlow said. The decision also is in keeping with court rulings that hold that teachers are expected to lead by example and be role models, she said.
    Jason Anthony, Murmer’s attorney, called the vote “a bad day for the First Amendment.”

    “Chesterfield lost a tremendous asset today,” he said.

    Murmer, a teacher at Monacan High School, was suspended in December after objections were raised about his private abstract artwork, much of which includes smearing his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas.

    His paintings sell for as much as $900 each on his Web site.

    The unique approach to art became a topic when a clip showing Murmer, wearing a fake nose and glasses, a towel on his head and black thong, turned up on YouTube.com and became the talk of the high school.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16557455/
    He's an art teacher....what do you expect!!! I hope he fights this!!

  2. #2
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    "Chesterfield lost a tremendous ASSET today"
    Struck my funny bone on this one.

    Agree that he needs to fight. When I first saw the thread, I thought he was butt-printing students (that would be different). Artsy folks are usually "different."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LisainWV
    "Chesterfield lost a tremendous ASSET today"
    Struck my funny bone on this one.

    Agree that he needs to fight. When I first saw the thread, I thought he was butt-printing students (that would be different). Artsy folks are usually "different."
    Lisa...LOL...I didn't even catch that!!!!!

  4. #4
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    He's a great example to the kids. You get $900 out of a $5 piece of paper and .39 of paint.

    No more supporting our children while they flip burgers and live at home! For $5.39 a month, they can make rent in their own place!

    He should be sainted.
    FUN... is a renewable resource!

  5. #5
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    hipmamajen is offline I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft...
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    I don't think what teachers do in their free time (providing it's legal) should have any bearing on their jobs.

    I know several teachers, and they tell me it's difficult to find and keep good teachers because of the high hassle factor, low pay, and extreme burn out rates. This sort of thinking can only make that worse. Isn't it enough that they're good teachers, without having to live as an example as well?

    And, who gets to decide what makes someone a good example? There's a whole lot of gray area there....

  6. #6
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    Good for them! I think more school boards should stand up and get rid of teachers who do things like this. If he wants to paint his butt and genitals in the privacy of his home that is one thing. But when he starts offering the painting publicly I think they have not only a right but an obligation to get rid of him. That is my opinion.

  7. #7
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    Plenty of the greatest works of art that are priceless today were considered vulgar and nasty in their day.


    I certainly don't want a print of a man's hairy behind, but obviously others do.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!!

  8. #8
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    Teachers who show their genitals in any way, art or not, shouldn't be teaching kids. Schools expect our kids to be perfect and cause no trouble. When they aren't, they are charged with all sorts of crimes and labelled. Teachers should have to keep the same high or unrealistic standards as many disabled children.

  9. #9
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    good god. that's great to be teaching kids-- do something shockingly stupid and unoriginal, and it must be art!
    the art world has enough of a hard time as it is, without this kind of crap out there. i can just hear it now.. "i was just making art 'fun' for kids!!" oh wow. is that really the best you could do? that's the only way to make it fun, to have hiney humor??
    art is a skill just like any other... and sorry, putting your ass on a copy machine isn't a skill. we had enough of the 'dumbling down' of art in the 60's & 70's.. isn't it time to give it a rest?? no matter how many conceptual "artist statements" you might come up with about making xerox copies of your behind.. i'm sorry, it's just not relevant. nor is it art.

    i'm glad his lame ass got fired (and the rest of him too).

  10. #10
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    besides... junk like this is what so-called "artists" do when they have no REAL talent.. and nothing original to say!


  11. #11
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    Gee, reb, way to stand on principle! I don't care for his art either but that's hardly the point.

    If the First Amendment required that people have something original to say and say it skillfully, the vast majority of people would have no rights.

    But Americans are waaaaaaaaay too hung up on nudity. No wonder Europe thinks we're all children.

  12. #12
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    Well, this probably isn't a popular opinion, but what in the heck is the big deal? I don't personally think it's "art", but obviously some other people like it. He wasn't breaking the law. He wasn't doing this at school, or trying to sell his paintings to kids at school. He smeared paint on his butt and applied it canvas. Good grief---it's strange to me, but I don't think that should be a reason for the man to lose his job.

    How about how well he does as a teacher? Does he engage his classroom? Does he teach in a way that is interesting and effective to the students? Are they learning? Does he create lessonplans that are exciting and feed the minds of his students? What if all the answers to those questions are YES? Does he still deserve to lose his job?

    Geez, it's a buttprint. Big deal. Yeah, it's lame and all, but it's not illegal. He wasn't harming anyone, was he?

    If the school board is trying to send a message to the students, I can't for the life of me figure out what exactly that message is.

  13. #13
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    OK.. my bad. so he isn't doing this around the students (i'll read more carefully next time!). but still, just because you can do incredinly stupid, inane stuff and get away with it, and make tons of money from other idiots from it, doesn't make it art.

    should they have fired him?? hhhmmm.... probably, because he chose to make himself public (even with groucho marx glasses.. which of course is going to lead people to wonder, who IS this mystery man?),,, and when students find out, of course they're going to talk and look for him doing his thing online.. and it's definitely a perverse situation. it's a distraction from actual learning. people can say "well it's a free country",, etc.. but where do you draw the line? should there be a line? should we have porn stars teaching children?

    schools should have certain standards and it's a good thing some of them try to uphold them.. otherwise it would be complete chaos... anything goes. and that kind of distraction and scandalous atmosphere is not a good environment for LEARNING.. which is what they're there for in the first place... remember?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova
    Gee, reb, way to stand on principle! I don't care for his art either but that's hardly the point.

    If the First Amendment required that people have something original to say and say it skillfully, the vast majority of people would have no rights.

    But Americans are waaaaaaaaay too hung up on nudity. No wonder Europe thinks we're all children.

    You're right about this!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by julianne
    Well, this probably isn't a popular opinion, but what in the heck is the big deal? I don't personally think it's "art", but obviously some other people like it. He wasn't breaking the law. He wasn't doing this at school, or trying to sell his paintings to kids at school. He smeared paint on his butt and applied it canvas. Good grief---it's strange to me, but I don't think that should be a reason for the man to lose his job.

    How about how well he does as a teacher? Does he engage his classroom? Does he teach in a way that is interesting and effective to the students? Are they learning? Does he create lessonplans that are exciting and feed the minds of his students? What if all the answers to those questions are YES? Does he still deserve to lose his job?

    Geez, it's a buttprint. Big deal. Yeah, it's lame and all, but it's not illegal. He wasn't harming anyone, was he?

    If the school board is trying to send a message to the students, I can't for the life of me figure out what exactly that message is.

    Great post Julianne!! We'll be "not popular" together.

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