Embattled art teacher and school district issue joint statement

Francois Boucher's "Brown Odalisque"

On Thursday, the Cache County School District issued a joint public statement along with Mateo Rueda, the former art teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum, on the district’s Facebook page. 

“The conflict between the district and Mr. Rueda has now been resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to both parties,” the statement reads. It also stated  that the district has “withdrawn any indication that Mr. Rueda was terminated from his employment.”

Rueda had been out of work since mid-December after a controversy erupted with an art project at the school with 6th graders. Classic art pieces were found in the school’s library which contained nudity. 

Parents complained and a police officer was even called to the school on reports of a teacher distributing pornography. Several letters to the editor for and against Mr. Rueda were published in the Herald Journal dealing with the art, and with Mr. Rueda’s alleged treatment of his students over the incident.

On December 31st, the district issued a statement clarifying the events that transpired, defending the actions of the school’s principal and announcing that a formal review would take place with Mr. Rueda and the district.

After the review, and further discussions with Mr. Rueda, the district announced that while Mr. Rueda will be able to resume teaching in the district he will not be headed back to Lincoln Elementary School.

According to the statement, “because simply reinstating Mr. Rueda to his position as the art teacher may be disruptive to the students and educators involved, the parties simply agree that Mr. Rueda may reapply to any position within the Cache County School District, and do so without any negative impact from the events leading to his past departure.”

The joint statement also states that the district, by agreement with Mr. Rueda, will be reevaluating its arts materials and policies. It also reaffirms a commitment to the arts and a positive learning environment for students.

“The Cache County School District and Mateo Rueda are strong supporters of the arts and how they enrich the lives of students. The top priority and greatest concern of both the District and Mr. Rueda is that children receive the best education possible.”

The joint statement, in its entirety, is below.

<em>The Cache County School District and Mateo Rueda are strong supporters of the arts and how they enrich the lives of students. The top priority and greatest concern of both the District and Mr. Rueda is that children receive the best education possible. The conflict between the district and Mr. Rueda has now been resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to both parties, and the Cache County School District has now withdrawn any indication that Mr. Rueda was terminated from his employment. However, because simply reinstating Mr. Rueda to his position as the art teacher may be disruptive to the students and educators involved, the parties simply agree that Mr. Rueda may reapply to any position within the Cache County School District, and do so without any negative impact from the events leading to his past departure. By agreement with Mr. Rueda, the Cache County School District will be reevaluating its art materials and policies.</em>

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