YORK — A York High School student staged a schoolwide walkout after her anti-racism art display sparked complaints, forcing school officials to remove it.

York High senior Claudia Corcoran’s art display was part of a school project that had students create a topic inspired by a book, said Principal Karl Francis.

Corcoran’s project included a two-panel painting that describes racism as an issue that continues to plague American society. She donated the piece to the school’s librarian, who displayed it in the library, The Portsmouth Herald reported.

The York School Department administration ordered the school to remove the display after complaints from parents, students and faculty. But more complaints on social media followed after its removal.

The administration said that the artwork was removed because the librarian did not get approval to display it. But in the past, librarians have been allowed to decide to hang student art without permission from school officials.

In a statement, Superintendent Lou Goscinski said that the student’s art isn’t an issue “but once we display it, it becomes the speech of the school.”


Following the statement, Corcoran staged a walkout on Sept. 29, demanding that the school return her artwork to the library.

Two days later, Francis released a statement announcing Corcoran’s art will be put back on display.

“We welcome the school’s decision to return the artwork to its display, and applaud the student for her courage in standing up for civil rights and justice,” CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ismail Allison said.

The school is planning to conduct an equity audit to further address internal issues.

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