A mural painted by a student at a Michigan middle school has sparked outrage for featuring a child wearing a transgender flag and a face of a demon.
The mural also features a creature holding a syringe, a girl in a rainbow outfit, and the Hamsa hand — which alarmed parents said was a sign of witchcraft.
Evelyn Gonzales, the Grant High School student who painted the mural for Grant Middle School, told local station WZZM that she created it to “make people feel welcome.”
The issue was raised during a school board meeting Monday, October 10, which Gonzales was present at.
Gonzalez claimed that the demon is from a video game and that she wasn’t intentionally painting satan.
“That’s not what I’m a part of,” says Gonzales. “That’s not what I’m trying to put out there.”
Over 50 parents attended and spoke out about the artwork.
“I feel like she did a really good job finding excuses to defend the things she put on,” said parent Katelyn Thompson, according to the WZZM report. “None of us are that stupid.”
The parents also spoke out about the transgender flag.
“When adults pretend things that are like real life, it’s a mental illness,” said parent Danielle Beight. “We need counselors, we need medication that’s going to help bipolar disorder, fix their brains.”
The demon, Hamsa hand, and several other portions of the mural were not included on the draft that she had submitted. The school has decided to remove those elements, but said that the rainbows and transgender flag will stay.
“After careful consideration and discussion with our students, staff, Board, and community members, it has been agreed upon that the mural will remain with some adjustments,” the school said in a statement following the heated meeting. “At the student artist’s request, the mural will be returned to its original form as originally submitted and approved by the Administration.”
The statement continued, “At Grant Public Schools, we are committed to promoting civility, respect, understanding and inclusion. We do not condone, and we will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or bullying whether in word, deed or on social media.”
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