Painting over murals was personal


To the Editor:

It was disheartening to read in last week’s paper that murals in the high school were removed. This is personal to me, as one of the artists is my daughter.

I am extremely proud of her work and how she embraces the multiculturalism of our country and the world. She was fortunate to have a history teacher in Ms. Weintraub who instilled these values in her and her peers. While I did not expect her mural to hang on the walls forever, it is hard to imagine how Mr. Vandall could remove public property without the consent of the proper authorities. Going into the school after hours with an unauthorized guest feels to me like a deliberate and cowardly act; I am unsure of his motives.

Mr. Vandall claims he did not know the significance of the work and questioned whether it was his fault or the fault of Ms. Weintraub’s for not explaining its importance. How is that plausible?

Mr. Vandall is a teacher of history and walks the halls conversing with students on the historical and relevant issues these murals reflect. His not knowing the significance of the art is a matter worse than the act of poor judgment as described by the principal. I wonder what he was possibly thinking when painting over the thoughtful, creative works of these talented young artists? They obviously put their hearts and souls into each piece, and put themselves on the line for their fellow students to judge. I am saddened for the students who grew to know and ponder these pieces, and for the future students that will miss out on the opportunity.

Our high school is blessed with outstanding staff and teachers, but something went awry that evening when Mr. Vandall took matters into his own hands. Mr. Vandall’s unilateral actions were inexcusable. I trust the administration will set an example by addressing these concerns, and take appropriate disciplinary actions.

Andrew Woodruff
West Tisbury