A Michigan mom says her 11-year-old daughter’s school called a drawing of a pig "inappropriate."
The colorful drawing, titled “Piggie,” depicts a a pig in a bow tie saying “hi” as it waves its arms. Totally innocent, right?
But in a now-viral TikTok video, mom Sierra Carter explains that she received a phone call from an art teacher who was concerned that Piggie’s bow tie was actually a depiction of male genitalia.
“A little boy had come up to her and made her aware that he thought my daughter drew boy parts on her pig project,” Carter says in the clip.
According to Carter, her child, a fifth grade student, made it clear that she had drawn a bow tie, but the teacher insisted on involving the school vice principal. The "inappropriate" artwork was then “confiscated,” Carter says.
Carter decided to book a meeting with the school counselor and her daughter’s art teacher.
“When they showed me the drawing, I was beside myself. It was clearly what my daughter said it was," Carter, 37, tells TODAY.com.
Later, the Hanover-Horton Elementary School principal joined the discussion. "He argued with me over what a bow tie looks like,” Carter shares. “Finally, he’s like, ‘I’ll let it slide this time — but I’m gonna put this in her file.’”
John Denney, superintendent of the Hanover-Horton Schools, tells TODAY.com that “nothing has been placed in any student’s school records related to this matter.”
"It is unfortunate that a one-sided narrative has been created on social media that paints our staff in a negative light,” Denney said in a statement. “In this case, a student appropriately brought concerns to the attention of our staff. In response, our staff handled the situation with compassion and discretion. Staff contacted the student’s parents to discuss the situation. No student was singled out or ostracized. Every effort was made to protect the privacy and dignity of all students.”
The incident occurred last month. Carter has since pulled her daughter from the school.
“She was so embarrassed and felt so singled out,” Carter tells TODAY.com. “No kid should feel like that. She should feel safe.”
Carter says her daughter has not received an apology from the school. But she has been inundated with support on TikTok.
"Teacher here … bow tie, but woulda had to show my fellow teachers because it’s cute and funny. Nothing more," wrote one person.
Added another, "I’d tell them I was mad that they sexualized my child’s drawing off of what a young boy said; they should be ashamed."