Lebanon art student says school officials tried to censor her work

LEBANON, Mo. A high school art project is stirring up controversy in the Ozarks.

Advanced Art students at Lebanon High were given an assignment at the start of the school year. The topic was called, 'who we are.'

One student said her art piece got her into trouble. It was removed from the art gallery in what she feels is an attempt to censor her opinion.

"I chose to do it on the country's stand point. I feel as a country, we are drowning and so I wanted to portray that in my artistry work," says Brooklyn Miller.

It took her almost two months to finish her painting.

It wasn't the only piece removed from the student gallery.

"There was another artist that painted something that said Black Lives Matter and it was bleeding over a police badge so I guess that would have been misunderstood as well," she says.

Miller believes officials didn't want the school to look bad.

"They just told us that it was disrespectful and we shouldn't have it up on the walls because they aren't looking at the artist, they're looking at Lebanon High School," she says.

She says that wasn't the only reason why her painting was removed.

"The administrator thought that it was offensive. I was just told that it was put away in a safe place and that if it got any worse that it had to evacuate the building," she says.

School officials declined an on camera interview. Instead a written response was sent. It says:

"The Lebanon School District very much values student creativity and the freedom of expression within a safe and secure school environment.

Recently, a concern about a student's piece of artwork was voiced to a Lebanon High School administrator. The artwork was removed during a review process, which included a conversation with the student artist and teacher in order to better understand symbolism included in the work.

Following the review, no projection of a material or substantial disruption to the school environment was evident, and that was communicated to the student. Upon that determination, the artwork was returned to the student art gallery and is once again being displayed."

"They said that I was trying to show everyone that the Constitution is bad. I feel they just chose to overlook some other pieces. Maybe it's because that I'm actually showing what's going on in this world," says Miller.

She says officials aren't saying much about the incident to the students.

"The principal did apologize for what has happened but I feel that it shouldn't have to come from him. I think it should have to come from the administrator," says Miller.

She feels the school administrator is taking her painting too personally and admitted to placing a different picture where hers once was.

"He said, I was the one who printed off the Statue of Liberty and taped it up there. If you feel like it was a jab at you then I guess it was. I'm standing up for what's right," explains Miller.

She plans to paint an entire series based on her political opinions.

"Artwork is just a hard language to learn if you aren't willing to learn it. I'm just here to speak what's right and I'm not going to back down for it. I'm very proud of myself," she says.

Miller's art instructor has encouraged her to send her painting to Drury University to be displayed.