Annual painting at high school covers murals

The annual school painting covered up murals on the school walls. — Gabrielle Mannino

Regularly scheduled painting at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) has covered up some wall murals made by students, but school officials say all that artwork has been cataloged for future viewing. 

MVRHS Assistant Principal Jeremy Light told The Times by phone Wednesday that although he hasn’t been heavily involved with preventive maintenance at the high school, he is aware of the painting that was done. “If we paint over a mural, we take pictures of them and put them on a canvas, so they’re never gone or unavailable,” Light said. “Some of this stuff is from the ’80s and ’90s.” 

Light confirmed that the large murals of athletes playing various sports near the gym entrance were painted over as part of the annual maintenance schedule, but those pieces have been memorialized in a different form. “We painted over that area just so it looks better as all the visiting teams come into our building. We have captured those murals in alternative ways,” Light said.

Sam Hart, coordinator of Pathways and special projects for MVRHS, said the school tries to paint during vacation weeks and holidays so the work is minimally disruptive to students and staff. All wall murals and student artwork being displayed, according to Hart, are captured in the form of high-resolution pictures. He added that all the past murals are contained in a catalog and are available for viewing. “Now we have opportunities for new artwork to be displayed on the walls,” Hart said.


  1. Harrison– You are somewhat correct. A history teacher at the school was suspended for one semester for painting over a mural depicting the African American heritage trail on the Vineyard.
    He was not authorized to do it, never asked for permission , and did it after hours when the school was closed.
    Vandalism with racially motivated overtones is quite different than regular maintenance.

      • Mike– I hope you read the article I referenced.
        I don’t know how many murals there are in the school, but let’s take a look at what we know and what we don’t know about that incident from 2017.
        I don’t know for sure if Ms. Weintraub had anything to do with those murals because the article doesn’t mention who was behind them. I personally know Ms. Weintraub. I had a daughter, a stepchild, and the 2 children of my long term relationship (25 years) who all had Ms. Weintraub as a teacher.
        She is / was very active in issues concerning racial inequality.
        I suspect she did have something to do with the murals.
        The article states that 4 murals were painted over, but does not describe all of them. That’s what we don’t know.
        Here’s what we do know:
        Mr. Vandall knew he would be disciplined for his unauthorized actions. It was done after hours and in secret. Why do you think he did it ?
        Two of the murals were ” featured as part of the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard”. A third one featured Emma Chambers — Just take a wild guess as to what color she was.
        Like I said, we don’t know what the fourth one was– perhaps someone could shed some light on that, but I doubt it was anything honoring a confederate general. But 3 out of four of all the murals in the school having something to do with black history sounds suspicious to me.
        Also– more than 100 people signed a letter asking the Massachusetts Attorneys general office to open a “civil rights and/or criminal” investigation.
        Perhaps because over 100 people felt strongly enough that it had racial overtones that they signed that petition.
        And finally, Mike, “students [were] feeling intimidated and unwelcome in Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.” One might rationally presume that those students were people of color.
        You know we can’t have any of that, given the debate about CRT. Teaching accurate history to white children makes them feel “uncomfortable” , after all.
        Or is ok for students of color to feel intimidated and unwelcome when some white vigilante “cancels” their culture ?
        Is that a sufficient answer for you, Mike ?

  2. Mr Martin , there is a special kind of vandalism and its racial vandalism. One kind isnt really too bad but the racial kind is terrible. Its like ”hate crimes”. That hate crime legislation a few years ago was good because from then on all crimes are motivated by love except the hate kind.

    • Andy– you got it right– A white mob lynching an innocent black person is worse than two members from different gangs shooting each other over some drug turf.

      • Keller I would not consider a black gang killing a white student a hate crime. It is simply a terrible crime.

    • Andrew, classifying an incident as a hate crime obviously isn’t meant to imply that other crimes are done with love or that they’re acceptable. It’s a designation that helps keep track of acts motivated by prejudice, with an eye towards preventing future harm.

      If someone were to deface private property by painting a scene of kittens and clouds, I think it would still be considered wrong by most, as it should. No one has the right to mess with another’s home or business. It costs the owner time, stress, and money. I find that unacceptable.

      However, if the same person were to paint antisemitic or anti-Black messaging, etc, there’s now potential for violence, which can’t really be said of tagging a place with a kitten motif. I’m not excusing either scenario, but pointed vandalism is meant to intimidate. Don’t we need some way to deal with crimes that could escalate to more serious charges?

      I’m speaking in general terms, not about the MVRHS mural.

      • Katie, privileged white people with an authoritarian personality are not able to grasp the humanity and simple wisdom of your words. When it comes down to it, calling all murders the same is the white suprematist idea of “fairness”. A cop murdering a Black man by kneeling on his neck as he calls for his mother and pleads for his life— because he was accused of passing a bad $20 bill— is the same as shooting an old lady on the street because she won’t hand over her purse. Two dead people. The inability to distinguish these differences is why explaining the difference is pointless. Some years back, when anonymity was allowed here, I recall a white racist arguing that racial stereotypes exist because they are true. He used Koreans to prove his point. I hope he’s reading this and recognizes himself.

  3. Ms Lane, when we segregate crimes based upon a subjective narrative we are implicitly suggesting some crimes are worse than others. Of course pickpocketing is not as bad as robbery, but I am just as distraught with the murder of a white male as I am a black LGBTQ. A murder motivated by prejudice is not different than a plain common garden variety of murder. Both people wind up dead. The mural was painted over. Lets leave it at that. Is the boycotting by some Universities of Israel considered hate thought and deed as opposed to say PETA targeting someone with a mink stole? No I dont agree we need to ”keep track of crimes motivated by prejudice”


      “This article explains how bias crimes differ from parallel crimes and why this distinction makes a crucial difference in our criminal law. Bias crimes differ from parallel crimes as a matter of both the resulting harm and the mental state of the offender. The nature of the injury sustained by the immediate victim of a bias crime exceeds the harm caused by a parallel crime. Moreover bias crimes inflict a palpable harm on the broader target community…”

      I’d include more but deaf ears won’t hear.

      Engleman, try to educate yourself before you say something even more ignorant.

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