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Harwood diversity should be celebrated, not censured

05/31/2007

By Ari Kisler

I am writing on behalf of my cousin, Victoria Krushenick, who is currently taking Advanced Studio Art at Harwood Union High School.

For a recent assignment, she created an impressive stained-glass window to be placed near the entrance to the auditorium. Her window depicts Brody Dale, the female lead singer of The Distillers, from the bottom of her shoulders to the top of her mohawk. From the very beginning, Victoria has been told the project would be controversial. Standing up for her art, she spent up to two hours a day for at least two and a half months working on her window. Her completed work earned her an A, but has also sparked numerous complaints by the faculty and pressure to have it taken down.

As a recent graduate of Harwood Union High School, I am deeply concerned about the attitudes toward diversity that are being displayed. I can remember a time when it was common to see mohawks and colorfully dyed hair among the student population. This made Harwood a comfortable place for me to attend, knowing that each individual could express themselves openly without fearing reprimand from the faculty.

I feel this situation should not be taken lightly as it could be the beginning of a trend seen in many high schools, where anyone differing from the majority is pressured to conform. I would like to think that in a public high school, displaying a student's artwork, which depicts a diverse individual such as Brody Dale, would not be such an issue. If the faculty's complaints extend to the point where Victoria is forced to have her artwork removed, I feel the diverse environment that made Harwood a memorable school to attend will be compromised.

Ari Kisler is a member of the Harwood Union class of 2005 and Penn State University Class of 2009.
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