Saturday, September 30, 2023

After yearbook controversy, Downing teacher joins LISD high school

Less than two months after a controversy over the Downing Middle School yearbook, the Downing art teacher has been reassigned to the Lewisville High School – Harmon campus in what the district is calling “a great opportunity” for her “to advance her career.”

The Downing yearbooks were student-designed and approved by the principal, but the art teacher leading the class, Kayla Mick, was placed on administrative leave the last week of school after the political controversy arose. The front and back of the yearbook was covered with printed stickers illustrating things that happened during the school year and things the students liked. Most were innocuous, but on the back, there was one sticker with a black fist with the words “I Can’t Breathe,” and another one saying “Science is real, Black Lives Matter, no human is illegal, love is love, women’s rights are human rights, kindness is everything.”

Many Downing families — and other members of the community with no direct connection to the school — were offended by these stickers and complained to the school, the district and on social media. Principal Curtis Martin apologized and offered replacement stickers, covers or refunds to any families who didn’t like the yearbook cover.

At the time, a Lewisville ISD spokesperson did not give a reason for why Mick was  placed on leave, but did say it was not “as a result of complaints by parents.” Kayla Mick’s husband, Greg Mick, said at the time that the district didn’t make it clear to them why she was placed on leave either, but based on the district’s questions and investigation, it seemed to be about the yearbook.

On Monday, a LISD spokesperson confirmed that Mick will now be teaching art to ninth and 10th graders at Lewisville High School – Harmon. The spokesperson did not answer direct questions about whether the reassignment was a result of the yearbook controversy or if it was being called a promotion or punishment, but the district statement certainly does paint Mick’s new position in a positive light for her.

“Ms. Mick will have the opportunity to work with talented high school artists in longer class periods, while teaching three classes per day on the high school block schedule, as opposed to seven classes a day at the middle school level,” the district statement said. “Art positions at the high school level are widely coveted and hard to come by. This is a great opportunity for Ms. Mick to advance her career, and we are excited to see the art students at Harmon thrive under her guidance.”

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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