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“It wasn’t the pictures so much that really bothered me; it was the method in which he went about it afterward,” Pixton told The Herald Journal, though contending in the same interview that she thinks the teacher shirked his responsibility by not reviewing the pictures thoroughly before allowing children to access them.

“The library had several art books and eight boxes of postcards showing a wide array of artwork. These materials were provided by the school, had been there for years, and had presumably been used by students many times before. To my surprise, some of the postcards contained nudity. Some students expressed discomfort about some of the images, so I immediately took back from students the postcards I felt could make students feel uncomfortable. Then I explained to the whole class that art can sometimes show images that are not always comfortable to all, that art is better understood when placed in its proper context, that the human body is often portrayed in art, and that the images in the school collection are icons of art history and a patrimony of humanity.”

“She said she was putting the postcards and paintings in the shredder at the request of the school district so they wouldn’t be distributed again,” Sheriff Chad Jensen said. “We got some of the pictures and showed them to the County Attorney’s Office, and they said these wouldn’t meet the definition of pornography. They declined to file charges.”

According to Rueda, the two nudes accidentally accessed by students were an impressionist-era portrait by Italian painter and sculptor Amadeo Modigliani, titled “Iris Tree,” and a partial nude titled “Odalisque” by 18th-century Rococo-style artist Francois Boucher. Both can be found online with a simple Google search.

Among the other notable paintings in the “The Art Box” are Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” and Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.” Non-nude works by celebrated artists Paul Klee, Claude Manet, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Gauguin, J.M.W. Turner and many others are also in the set.

In his explanation to parent Kamee Jensen, Rueda wrote that Buist emailed him shortly after the Monday, Dec. 4, class period worried over several parents’ concerns about how he handled the situation and saying he would be put on a one-day administrative absence. On Wednesday, he met with Buist and the district’s human resources director, Kirk McRae, and they decided to suspend him two more days with a signed pledge not to let this type of incident happen again.

The police visit to the school occurred the following day, and on Friday Rueda was called in again and told he was being terminated. Both Buist and McRae have declined comment on the matter, so it is not known if the two events are connected.

“In a Friday meeting, they gave me two choices: to resign, accepting their terms of my alleged wrongdoing (eliminating any possibility to voice my opinion in the future), or to be terminated with a scathing and defamatory letter. Frankly, neither option was agreeable to me,” Rueda wrote, noting he has requested a hearing and plans to appeal the decision.

Rueda, a native of Colombia, came to Cache Valley to earn a master’s degree in fine art at Utah State University, and in his six years here he’s made a mark on the community through several well-received painting exhibits and his contacts with area businesses.

“I’ve worked professionally and very well with a lot of people. A lot of people know me and know my character. The terms of termination are belittling of my character, and to that end they are a defamation of character,” he wrote. “My intent when it comes to the hearing has noting to do money or anything like that, but it has to do with exercising my right to be heard so that I can have a clean name, a clean reputation. … This could be something that follows me for the rest of my life.”