Teacher acquitted of disorderly conduct in art show dispute

Full story: Chicago Tribune

Kindergarten teacher Deborah Maybach said she was just thinking of the children when she objected to semi-nude photos exhibited at an Arlington Heights festival.
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21 - 32 of 32 Comments Last updated Mar 16, 2009
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Thoin

Chicago, IL

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#23
Aug 29, 2008
 
Run away if it offends you. Go back to your nest.
Fed-Up in Chicago

Chicago, IL

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#24
Aug 29, 2008
 
teeceebee wrote:
So let me get this straight: the open display of photos depicting nude women at an art fair in Arlingon is pornography and promotes the degradation of our society.
Hmmm. Isn't there a statue in Rome of tall naked guy? And what about that art museum in Paris, I saw lots and lots of nudity on the walls in there. OMG, I think we should send troops to cover up this awful display of rampant moral decay that is sweeping the globe.
Or maybe Ms. Maybach should just come to her senses.
She's in charge of a group of five year olds from many different families. Some may share your artistic values, probably some do not. Who are you to impose your standards on others who may feel such art inappropriate for a five year old?
hardworkingmomsp eaks

Romeoville, IL

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#26
Aug 29, 2008
 
So sad. This is why I retired from teaching. The real issue is not whether the art work was offensive, or not (if it was truly offensive, it would--hopefully-- never have been displayed). But people have seemed to forget the meaning of the word 'decorum'; 'the prescribed limitations of appropriate social behavior within set situations'. The art work could have been more conspiculously displayed. We don't value life; especially our children who are growing up with increasingly less values and social norms. Anything goes! Not for five year olds. I know that I would not have been pleased if my little one came home asking inappropriate questions about the nudity what they saw on a field trip. There shouldn't be any nudity on a field trip! This was not an 'arrestable' offense. The teacher had as much right to voice her opinion, as the artist has to create her work. I'm glad she spoke up- prude indeed. This lady had decorum.
KLA

Lake Zurich, IL

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#27
Aug 29, 2008
 
If you don't want a kid to see nudity, don't take them where they can see it. And do your homework beforehand so you'll know what to expect before you opt to go there, for crying out loud! Why is it nowadays that adults drag or move kids to places with things they object to, and then expect everyone else to bend for them? Some may think kids are the center of the universe, but not everyone does. This is the same type of dope who buys a condo in Boystown and then tries to get the shop owners who have been there for 25 years to take down risque window displays so their kids don't see them. If you don't like sex or nudes out in the open, visit and live in places that are kid-friendly. Keep yourselves and your kids out of places like Boystown and art shows like this one, so those of us who aren't shocked and offended by a nipple in a photo or a rubber thong in a shop window can enjoy our outings in peace.
Stacy

United States

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#28
Aug 29, 2008
 
Bustoff wrote:
B.S.- If the cop didn't do what her main purpose in law enforcement, that is peacekeeper, than the cop would have been scrutinized for NOT arresting Ms. Prude. Kudos to the police officer; Too bad the spineless jury decided to call this a "free speech" issue. B.S.
I was an alternate on the jury, so while I was there and was able to see the faces of all my fellow jurors during the entire ridiculous, unnecessary 2 day trial - I did not get to hear what happened during deliberation. I swear there must've just been a couple sympathetic women who felt bad for her, being a teacher, and the rest of the jurors just wanted to go home so they settled. This was the most useless case of the century. This woman was a complete nut in court and wouldn't stop putting her foot in her mouth. Her attorney made it about free speech at the last minute...the state's attorney rebutted with the argument that Jana Epstein (the artist) is entitled to her free speech as well...
Fed-Up in Chicago

Chicago, IL

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#29
Aug 29, 2008
 
Logical wrote:
<quoted text>
You know, it is quite possible the 5 year olds wouldn't have paid much attention but Ms. Maybach making such a flap was guaranteed to make them pay attention big time. What an **** teacher! Jeez! Talk about issues!
On this one, my friend, we disagree.
Gloria

Brookfield, WI

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#30
Aug 29, 2008
 
ttilman wrote:
so everyone seems to think that the earlier a child is exposed to nudity (i'm in my early 40's and never took a bath with my mother or father) the better they'll be?
children's minds are developing into maturity all the way into adulthood and bombarding them with what is normal to an adult is not the best way to raise kids. That's what this 'teacher' knows because she went to school and actually has an education unlike the rest of you that are posting on this article.(get an education!)
kids think differently from adults and to try to explain to them why there are seminude or naked women being photographed begins to tell them that women are objects not people. that it's okay to use people.
nudity is beautiful amongst adults! not children! unless you're all pedophiles....
I love it when posters try to put down anyone who disagrees with their opinion by saying they are uneducated. Education has nothing to do with your comfort with nudity or what you feel children should be exposed to. SO, before I make my point, I will just let you know that I have a Masters Degree.

I was raised in a household where nudity was not a big deal; I was also exposed to art where the subjects were naked. There is a huge difference between pornography and nudity. The teacher was out of line. By making such a HUGE deal of the pictures, she most definitely drew attention of both children and adults to the very pictures she found so objectionable. Any parent taking a child to this festival could easily guide their kid past ANYTHING they deemed offensive. Not just nudes, but political or religious art as well.
Gloria

Brookfield, WI

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#31
Aug 29, 2008
 
Joey wrote:
<quoted text>
"this 'teacher' knows because she went to school and actually has an education unlike the rest of you that are posting on this article..."
"...went to school..." Yes, school. Was it Harvard or some backwater bible "college" in Arkansas? Has she taught 1 year or 25 years?
Speak for yourself regarding getting an education.
It is standard practice when writing in the English language to start the 1st word in a sentence with a capital letter. I learned that in GRADE SCHOOL.
P.P.S. Where did you 'actually' get your education (unlike the rest of us?)
HAHAHAHA.Hilarious.
Mark

United States

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#32
Aug 29, 2008
 
This woman is not fit to be teaching our children. She is ignorant to what art is and what art is about. She also seems to have a problem with understanding that nudity does not equal pornography. We all enter this world naked and there is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about nudity. Instead we should teach our children to understand the differences and be accepting of their own and others bodies. It is very sad that our children are forced to learn from people so close minded and sheltered themselves.
John

Elk Grove Village, IL

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#33
Aug 29, 2008
 
KLA wrote:
If you don't want a kid to see nudity, don't take them where they can see it. And do your homework beforehand so you'll know what to expect before you opt to go there, for crying out loud! Why is it nowadays that adults drag or move kids to places with things they object to, and then expect everyone else to bend for them? Some may think kids are the center of the universe, but not everyone does. This is the same type of dope who buys a condo in Boystown and then tries to get the shop owners who have been there for 25 years to take down risque window displays so their kids don't see them. If you don't like sex or nudes out in the open, visit and live in places that are kid-friendly. Keep yourselves and your kids out of places like Boystown and art shows like this one, so those of us who aren't shocked and offended by a nipple in a photo or a rubber thong in a shop window can enjoy our outings in peace.
Last time I checked, Arlington Heights is not exactly like Boystown. So your point misses the mark given the context of where this happened.
Tom in Georgia

Douglasville, GA

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#34
Sep 19, 2008
 
I was so disappointed to learn that this episode happened to Jana Epstein. She's a talented photographer, hard-working in so many ways that most people never see, and she's passionate about her work.<br>

It takes a lot of work to make it on your own as a artistic photographer, even more so when traveling to art shows around the country for half of the year. It's not something one becomes successful at by being a fruitcake, a 'shock artist' or a slacker.<br>

Jana's work is critically recognized for its quality, and commercially recognized by it's popularity. The subjects of her photography work are a mix of figures, architetural elements, boats, and other stills. Her framework accompanying the pieces would do fine even as stand-alone pieces themselves.<br>

My then-girlfriend and now wife and I met her a few years ago at an art festival, and have been so happy to see her again from time to time at other ones. We own several pieces by her, including a semi-nude that sounds thematically similar to what was alluded to in the article. We really enjoy them so much, especially with the happy memories of talking with Jana several times at similar festivals while we were dating.<br>

I have seen Jana's tent displays at a half a dozen different art festivals, and there is just nothing there warranting the embarrassing manic episode by Deborah Maybach. I wonder if that lady blocks the aisles at discount stores, with their numerous tabletop sculptures of intertwined nudes? What's next, banning books at the library? I thought the Chicago area was a major center for the arts and expression, and I was so impressed when when we visited the area. What has happened?<br>

I'm all for free speech, but if you do it in a disruptive manner to intimidate the protected expressive and commercial rights of others, especially in a third-party organized setting the (the festival, in this case) then you should at a minimum be removed, and likely prosecuted according to the appropriate misdemeanor laws. That kind of idiotic protest is NOT protected free speech. Free speech does not mean a 'free for all.' It means you have the right to express your views, but the method of doing so can legitimately be moderated. That's why you can't yell "Fire!" in a theater, libel someone, slander someone, etc without threat of arrest or legal punishment.<br>
Cray-z Asian

Chicago, IL

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#35
Mar 16, 2009
 
Just another "catch-22" she condemned if she does, confemned if she doesn't. She chose to act on the side of caution, and everyone who doesn't have a problem with exposing children to adult art gets into an uproar, seizing on her personal beliefs and apparently conservative concern for the children.

As a teacher it is not her responsibility to raise the children and expose them to what might be controversial art. If a parent wishes that for their child, they can do that on their own time. She is there to make sure that the children learn something that will not cause problems for their parents, and to keep them safe.

That is about all you can ask of any teacher, and she is more qualified than 90% of the people posting here to teach and care for little children.

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