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Utah teacher fired for displaying students classical paintings with nudity

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Teacher fired after using art materials that showed nudity

Utah teacher let go after the students were shown postcards of paintings of nudity.

A Utah teacher was fired earlier this month following complaints against him, after he showed images of classical paintings with nudity in a class given by the fifth and sixth-graders.

Mateo Rueda, a former art teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Hyrum, Utah, said he later appealed the termination of his reputation, FOX13 reported.

The teacher said that he was not aware that a set of educational postcards of the school and the library contained a few works depicting nudity when he gave them during a lesson.

The two images are seen of the students were the Impressionist-era portrait “Iris ” Tree” of the Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani and the Rococo-style, partially nude, “Odalisque” by the 18th-century artist Francois Boucher, the teacher said.

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Rueda told FOX13 he was “surprised about those images.” He said that he went through the educational postcards, and picked who he felt were not suitable for the students.

Bella Johnson, a fifth grader who was a student of Rueda’s, said he told her that their class on Dec. 4 may make the class feel uncomfortable.

“Mr. Mateo explained to us that there might be a few photos that we find uncomfortable,” Jensen said FOX13. She said that her friends laugh at some of the paintings, but enjoyed the project.

“There were a number of photos that were a bit weird, and most of the kids were laughing,” she said.

However, some students felt the images were inappropriate.

“The children were in expressing their discomfort, and then to explain that they found it inappropriate,” Rueda said.

The teacher tried to explain the images were art, and “encouraged” the students to speak with their parents about the paintings they saw. The educator later proved to be one of the parents called the police claiming Rueda showed pornography to the students.

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On Dec. 8, Rueda was issued a termination letter from the school.

“I was super angry when I heard that he got fired,” Bella told FOX13. Her mother, Kamee Jensen was also upset.

“The images that he showed the children were provided by the school district,” Jensen said.

She also wrote a letter to the Herald Journal to defend him and said that her daughter was not offended by the photos.

“She was just very angry that her teacher was in trouble,” Jensen said.

A mother, who wished to remain anonymous told FOX13 she was “not happy with how Rueda treated his explanation with the children.”

Rueda said he was “baffled” by the situation.

“Who knows whether I can be hired back,” he said.

The Cache County Sheriff’s Office said they investigated the complaint, but not at the expense, because the images were not considered pornography.

The Cache County School District declined to comment, saying, it is a personal matter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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