School Diversity Mural to Be Removed Because 'Not All Members of Community Represented'

A school district in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, announced on Monday it planned on removing a mural painted by students meant to represent diversity.

The Cedarburg School District said it had received complaints about the artwork, which features prominent LGBTQ+ imagery. In a letter sent to parents about the painting, the district stated: "Upon review, it was noted that not all members of our school community were represented in the mural."

Progress pride flag
A mural painted by students in a Wisconsin middle school is being removed by the school district. The artwork contains different Pride flags and people of different races holding hands. In this photo, a Progress Pride flag and a Black Lives Matter flag are displayed outside a church on June 13, 2021, in Brooklyn, New York. Getty

The artwork, which adorns the walls of the district's Webster Middle School, depicts people of different races and ethnicities holding hands with different LGBTQ+ flags in the background. In the center is planet Earth with the message "Love Is Universal" in the center.

The mural can be seen in the Twitter post below from the account for Milwaukee's NBC-affiliated station WTMJ-TV.

Diversity mural at Cedarburg middle school to be removed due to 'failure' in following approval process https://t.co/3UATExiDig

— TMJ4 News (@tmj4) August 9, 2021

The district said the specific reason why the art will be removed was due to a "failure to follow the proper process for approval."

A group called the Student Acceptance Team created the mural at Webster Middle School in an effort to promote diversity.

Katherine Myszewski, a former Webster Middle School band director and faculty adviser for the Student Acceptance Team, spoke with WTMJ-TV in July about the student project.

"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," Myszewski told the station.

She also said she had heard of some objections raised by the painting. Myszewski told WTMJ-TV, "The mural had prior approval by administration, but I was approached by our principal saying this mural is too LGBTQ+."

She said the Student Acceptance Team was asked to paint over some of the Pride flags, but she and the students in the group resisted.

By summer, the school had covered the mural with paper. The school's Facebook page addressed the move, writing that the paper was put over it "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 eventually uncovered, and Webster Middle School apologized. In a follow-up message on Facebook, the school wrote: "The covered mural sent a message that ANY of the content contained within it was not appropriate, and we are saddened by this. That was not our intention and we sincerely apologize."

The school district has since stepped in and made its own judgment. In an August 9 letter to parents regarding the fate of the painting, it explained, in part: "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 [Student Acceptance Team], to collectively find a way to reflect our diverse student population and the inclusivity of our school community where everyone belongs."

The letter included the district's decision regarding the mural, saying it was "best to remove the mural at this time due to the failure to follow the proper process for approval."

The district has not released any other comments or details about the mural. A removal date for the mural has also not been announced.

Newsweek contacted the Cedarburg School District for more information but did not hear back in time for publication.