As high school is one of the last stages teens go through before independence, I believe it should be a place to start practicing voicing personal opinions. However, at times, high schools censor the voices of their students because of the risk of offending someone, most commonly the parents.
As a student attending a private Christian high school, I found that there were many topics not discussed within the school, mostly things that are considered as sensitive issues that may cause arguments. I believe this suppresses independent thinkers and destroys the discussion.
This aspect of a private Christian high school was especially evident inside the Orange Lutheran High School’s sex education curriculum. A set sex education curriculum was nonexistent, as the only facts available were about STDs and abstinence in our mandatory health class and some psychology-relatedinformation in our optional Psychology classes. However, as a Christian, I believe, as being imperfect humans, we should be taught explicitly how to prevent and protect us from making irreversible mistakes. Therefore, the most important aspects of sex education of protection and expression were extinct, which led to the prevention of discussion around the school.
My artwork has nine Orange Lutheran students having their eyes, mouth, or ears covered by another person’s hand, which shows how information is censored not by choice, but rather by an outside force. These students’ faces are surrounded by cutup condom wrappers, which represents the nonexistent sex education and the almost uselessness of the information we are taught. The gold condom wrappers around the faces of the students seem like gold leaves from a distance, which are used in a lot of artwork for idols, exemplifying the importance of our students.
The artwork was censored by the school administration when displayed for the school art show. When I heard about the censorship, I wanted to take it as an opportunity, since the artwork is about censorship in high school. A page with the words, "Art Work Censored" on a page as the same size as the actual artwork was displayed with the artist's statement. This got more attention from the student body and faculty than usual, prompting them to take the time to actually read the artist statement and discuss with others and myself about the artwork and issue. The display intrigued people with the irony and its method of delivery of the message.