A group of students at a New York City high school tried using art last week to make a social statement about rape, only to stir controversy with school administrators over the images they chose to do it with.
Students at Susan Wagner High School on Staten Island told the Staten Island Advance newspaper the school removed from an art exhibit displayed in the lobby of the building due to its subject matter and its depiction of a bare-backed teen.
Meghan Callahan-Scarcella and Andrea Gonzales told WCBS-TV they created the artwork to draw attention and awareness to sexual assault and consent.
“I was so excited and I wanted people to see this,” Gonzales told WCBS. “I wanted people to be aware of consent and the rape culture that is in our society.”
The teens wrote messages on Gonzales’ bare back, such as, “no means no,” “my body, my rules,” and, “you don’t own me" before taking several pictures to create the piece.
The two teens told WCBS the display was taken down after one day in the school's lobby.
“They said like: ‘We really like your ideas. We think you’re talented. But we just can’t have a minor, because she’s under 18, exposing herself,’” Callahan-Scarcella told WCBS-TV.
The school's dress code and conduct policy, posted on its website, prohibits girls from displaying thighs, shoulders and bare backs.
That however did not stop students and some parents from creating an online petition protesting censorship of the banned photo.
The students and the school administration have since come to an agreement to reshoot the project with the same messages, except this time, written on T-shirts, CBS 2 reported.