Portland Teacher Gets Suspended for Showing Teens a Frida Kahlo Documentary

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On January 26, Portland resident Jennifer Lewis took to her Facebook account to slam Portland Public Schools for suspending a teacher who showed students The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo, a documentary about the artist. “PPS has put one of our high school teachers on unpaid administrative leave for showing students a documentary on Frida Kahlo,” she said. “To me, this is unacceptable. Censoring art and books that our children have access to is NOT ok… PPS says that her art is too violent and sexual in nature.”

To protest PPS’ decision, Portland Teacher Association President Gwen Sullivan changed her Facebook picture to Frida. Three weeks later, the photo is still there, according to Willamette Week. However, a source said unnamed teacher was reinstated into the district’s substitute teacher list, and will receive 11 days of back pay.

The sub showed the movie to students who were part of a program for those in “federal immigration limbo.” Sullivan said that no student in the class was younger than 13. Meanwhile, in Argentina, Nadia Fink has written a children’s book about Frida, because she wanted children to have better role models than the damsel-in-distress. Fink didn’t even shy away from Frida’s bisexuality.

The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo first aired on PBS in 2005, and the network even has an educational guide to go along with it. PBS does suggest that it be shown to students in 10-12 grade. At the bottom of the site, PBS does warn that the movie “deals with some very mature themes such as sexuality, miscarriage, and illness.”

Check out the movie below: