A Michigan charter school has replaced a mural depicting heroic figures such as Mother Theresa, Betsy Ross, and Albert Einstein, in a corridor loosely dubbed the “hall of heroes,” with those of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling.
The decision of to make the change at South Arbor Charter Academy in Ypsilanti, Mich. has left many parents outraged, according to Fox News, which reported:
The original mural had been a part of the Michigan charter school for years. It included a diverse group of national and global “heroes” – from Gandhi to the astronauts who were killed when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over Texas.
“This is no longer a hall of heroes,” parent Craig Bergman told Fox News’ Todd Starnes. “Now we have a hall of celebrities.”
Or perhaps a hall of zeroes?
“The mere fact that you have talent doesn’t mean you are a hero,” Bergman added. “I want someone who made a life investment – perhaps they even sacrificed their life – so that our society and so our world could be a better place.”
Parents are concerned about the message the change sends to students.
“My biggest concern is my kid seeing these murals for the next four years – thinking they represent what a hero is,” parent Todd Holliday told Fox. “They might be successful business people but they aren’t really heroes.”
The school made the change in an effort to spruce up the building, according to school spokesperson Jennifer Hoff.
“Heroes Hall has been a part of the school’s fabric for years,” she said. “In fact, the old mural had been on the wall for at least 11 years. As with all things over time, it was showing its age from the activities of being an active school and needed some repair.”
All of which begs an obvious question, according to Fox’s Starnes:
So why not just hire an artist and touch up Mother Teresa? Why paint over her entire face? And who made that decision?
Bergman told me the principal appointed a blue-ribbon panel of four staffers to select who the new heroes should be.
“There was no parental involvement,” he said. “The principal of the school hand-picked and self-appointed (the group). Once they gave her their final decisions, she solely approved the list.”
Not quite what Bergman — or Fox News — would call “fait and balanced.”
“Previously, it was very well-balanced and respected a lot of different thoughts,” Bergman said. “Instead, it’s become more of a political issue. There’s definitely a certain genre of pictures here.”
Starnes offers some suggestions for “modern-day heroes”:
How about the Navy SEALs who got Usama bin Laden? What about the firefighters and police officers who died on 9-/11 or those who defended our consulate in Benghazi?
Those are true American heroes.
Then there are those everyday modern heroes: Americans who struggle to survive in a rapidly disintegrating economy, and parents who attempt to instill values within their children against all efforts by educators to do otherwise.