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Opinion, Letters To The Editor

Letter To The Editor: Samohi Art Teacher Controversy A 'Revolting Development'

Posted Mar. 7, 2012, 2:42 am

Staff Report

Dear Editor,

Re the firing of Allan Barnes, art teacher at Samohi [Semi-Nude Photos At Samohi Draw Ire, March 2-8 2012].

As Chester A. Riley used to say, "What a revolting development this is!"

A clampdown on creative freedom seems to be spreading like a perfect nasty storm from Washington D.C. through Hollywood and into Santa Monica. Or at least into the SMMUSD. Because like art teacher Mr. Barnes, I lost my job.

here, too, fired from my position as a Language Arts Assistant at one of our local elementary schools. It happened when I produced a radio story with 5th graders, interviewing them about Valentine's Day for public radio station KPCC 89.3. Comments at the station website ( that followed were filled with nothing but praise for how wonderful the students sounded on the topics of love and friendship.

But two days later, in a move similar to what at Samohi you described as "draconian measures to closely monitor everything," I was fired.

Another extreme overreaction to free expression? Samohi senior Carina Ramirez said it best in the Mirror article: "So many teachers are supposed to (say) 'we're here to inspire you,' but then if you do one thing to push the boundary, it's done. You don't get to be inspired anymore."

Inspire you? Hard to do if we're all just "working for the Clampdown," as the Clash once put it in song.


Henry Rosenfeld

Santa Monica

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