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Diversity mural at Cedarburg middle school to be removed due to 'failure' in following approval process

Cedarburg mural
Posted at 11:06 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 12:07:30-04

A mural that drew a lot of attention from the Cedarburg community earlier this summer is being removed.

In an announcement to parents on Monday, the Cedarburg School District said it was removing the mural painted on walls at Webster Middle School due to a "failure to follow the proper process for approval."

The mural was created by the Student Acceptance Team at Webster Middle School to promote diversity.

"One of the projects they wanted to do this past school year was to create and design a mural that celebrated people from all walks of life," said former Webster Middle School Band Director and Student Acceptance Team Adviser Katherine Myszewski earlier this summer when the mural was created.

In July, the mural was covered up by the school district, saying it was covered because "Webster hosts 1000+ students (mostly elementary-aged) for Summer Academy and there are ongoing conversations across the district regarding what is developmentally appropriate for our younger learners."

The mural was then uncovered after the district received feedback from the community.

"In the past few weeks, the district has reviewed the circumstances surrounding the painting of a mural on the walls of Webster Middle School," said the district in a letter to parents on Aug. 9. "The district has policies and procedures in place which must be followed, and approval is required for all student groups and faculty advisors regarding publications and productions created and distributed, including murals painted on school walls. The Board is now aware that instructions provided to a staff member by an administrator prior to the completion of the mural were not followed. District administrators reviewed the initial proposal, and an administrator directed that the mural be more inclusive of all students in our school community. The administrator also was attempting to obtain further information from the staff member about the meaning behind elements of the proposed mural and was in the process of reviewing the neutral criteria for approval as outlined in the District’s policies and procedures. However, the mural was completed without final approval, which was pending."

The school district said due to the new information regarding the process, it was "best to remove the mural at this time due to the failure to follow the proper process for approval."

"The administration’s initial understanding, based on the original proposal, was that the mural intended to be inclusive of all members of the Webster school community," the letter to parents reads. "Upon review, it was noted that not all members of our school community were represented in the mural. We appreciate hearing the community’s feedback on the topic. Webster Middle School is working with student groups, including SAT, to collectively find a way to reflect our diverse student population and the inclusivity of our school community where everyone belongs."

The district did not release any other details.

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