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Student asked to modify mural that shows two girls kissing

by: Jacqui Heinrich Updated:


NEWBURY, Mass. - A mural that shows two girls kissing is causing quite the controversy at Triton Regional High School.

The painting shows two girls kissing, but administrators say it isn't the homosexuality that's the issue; the problem is the public display of affection or PDA.

"I feel proud and I feel sad,” Jackie Mitchell, the artist, said.

Jackie was asked by her art teacher to paint a mural showing student life at the school, which she says is what she did.

"It wasn’t the fact that it was two girls kissing. It was any students kissing in a high school context,” Superintendent Chris Farmer said.

Farmer says PDA is strictly against school policy, if it’s not acceptable in a workplace it’s not acceptable at school.

Jackie’s mother tells FOX25 she isn’t buying that reasoning.

"Two years ago they sent you home with rainbow colored ribbons to put on your locker or wherever you chose to help support, and now they have a problem with a painting,” she said.

Jackie, who identifies as bisexual, says the message was as much about being a voice for the LGBT community as it was about getting a conversation started regarding PDA.

Administrators agree, she's achieved her objective.

"Peck on the cheek is different. So I recognize that it is a matter of judgment, but we are here to set expectations about the kind of behavior that is typically publicly acceptable,” Farmer said.

The family is just wondering if they’re really getting the full story.

"It’s more so that they're against PDA but there were a lot of staff that were complaining to my principal that it was two girls that made them uncomfortable,” Jackie said.

The school has asked Jackie to modify the painting, and she says she will, although she’s not sure how yet.