Teen claims artwork taken down by school officials for being 'innapropriate'

Locust Grove High School senior Sydney Schwichtenberg says her artwork was removed from the school when it was deemed inappropriate after other students said it was distracting. (KTUL)

LOCUST GROVE, Okla., (KTUL) -- A 17-year-old claims school officials took down her painting at a silent auction at school after deeming it inappropriate.

“I just wanted to celebrate women with my piece of art," said senior Sydney Schwichtenberg.

It took two weeks for Schwichtenberg to paint her piece. But it only lasted hours on the walls of Locust Grove High.

“It was deemed inappropriate by the school," said Schwichtenberg.

The result of an art class project she finished last Thursday, acrylic colors bringing to life a Native American woman.

The storm, Schwichtenberg says, is a symbol of female empowerment.

“I was really proud by the end of it; I thought what I made was beautiful," said Schwichtenberg.

The high school senior says principals took down the painting because it distracted fellow students.

Now the painting is on display at Wonder City Coffee where the 17-year-old works.

Her boss, Mark Palmer, says he never once thought twice about bringing the painting to his shop.

“There was nothing off the cuff that she was trying to do with it; she paints what she feels and what she sees," said Palmer.

The 17-year-old says the painting was on display with other artwork in a silent auction outside the school library but was taken down Friday without warning.

“I think it puts a barrier on art, because art isn’t meant to have fences," Schwichtenberg.

In fact the high school senior believes by deeming the painting inappropriate it disrespects women. She says her hope was to inspire beauty from her piece.

“Saying it’s distracting; I don’t think that’s bad," said Schwichtenberg.

She plans to feature the piece in the Locust Grove Founders Day art show at the VFW this Saturday. It will then be placed in the ceiling of the coffee shop.

After numerous calls to Locust Grove Public Schools administration, Principal Clint Hall declined to comment on the situation at this time.

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