A Georgia mother raised concerns about a student's artwork displayed at her daughter's high school depicting an image with the phrase, "God is dead," from "The Crucible," a 1953 play based on the Salem witch trials by the American playwright Arthur Miller, arguing that if religion is not allowed in schools, neither should the picture.
Crystal Mitchell says the artwork posted in her sophomore daughter's literature class at Alcovy High School in Newton County, Ga., made her uncomfortable. The picture is one of many displayed on a wall drawn by students after reading the play, but Mitchell says the play's story line based on witchcraft should not even be a part of the school's curriculum.
"There is a picture of the lady apparently holding like a voodoo doll, and then there is a noose hanging behind her and it says, 'God is Dead,'" said Mitchell, according to Covington News.
Mitchell told Covington News she is not seeking punishment for the teacher who posted the artwork but said it should come down because keeping it up validates a double standard.
"If my child can't pray in school and they've taken religion out of school, for this to be plastered on the walls of the public school is a huge concern to me," said Mitchell, reported Atlanta-based Fox affiliate, WAGA-TV. "It doesn't have a place on the school wall, it just doesn't have a place in public school."
However, the Newton County school district says the image will remain up because the picture was merely a student's interpretation of a quote in a scene of the play where John Proctor's character says, "I say, I say, God is dead."
"The artwork is in no way an attack on religion," said Sherri Davis-Viniard, the school district's spokesperson, reports Covington News. "The artwork is hanging among other student artwork in a display that reflects the entire play, 'The Crucible.'"
After receiving Mitchell's complaint, the school system solicited legal counsel to make sure they had the right to maintain the artwork, which Davis-Viniard said attorneys informed them that it was "absolutely fine to display the artwork, as it is not a religious piece – it's reflecting literature."
Mitchell says other parents have also raised recent concerns about the drawing even though it has been displayed for years.