GRANT, Mich. (WOOD) — A mural painted at Grant High School over the summer has become a community flashpoint, with some parents declaring it unsuitable for a public school at a board meeting earlier this week.

The mural was created by a high school student who won an art competition, the prize of which was the opportunity to place her work on the wall of the Child and Adolescent Health Center at the high school.

Lori Donati, who works at the clinic, coordinated the contest and was thrilled with the results, including gay and transgender pride symbols, which Donati said the young artist drew because she has friends who have been bullied for his sexuality.

“Our clinic welcomes everyone,” said Donati. “What she (the artist) was trying to say (is that) everyone accepts no matter where you come from or who you are. You are loved and accepted and that is also our philosophy in our office.’

But some parents objected to the flags and the face of a demon drawn from a video game character. They want the mural painted over. Parents who oppose the mural declined to give their names when speaking to News 8 on Friday. They said they had been harassed online by those who disagreed with their viewpoints.

The parents, who wanted to speak as a group, gathered in a circle to pray before sharing their thoughts with News 8.

“We just want a neutral place for our kids,” said one. “We don’t want our children to be politicized.”

They argued that the mural was divisive. They stopped short of expressing their specific objections to the LGBTQ symbols, although they said they were divisive among students.

“Our children should have neutral spaces where everyone feels loved and accepted, and there should be nothing on the wall that is divisive,” said one.

They argued that the mural was only representative of students who identify as LGBTQ, even though some of the figures in it don’t have symbols of pride.

“You used the World All Inclusive system,” said one parent. “It’s not all inclusive. This picture had to be huge.’

They said that the picture had no place in the school.

“Everybody was suggesting we put it in ArtPrize,” said one parent. “That would be great. It can go anywhere, but it shouldn’t be in our public school.”

Donati said the parents, who she described as part of a small group of very vocal conservative Christians, “misinterpreted” the student’s work.

“She just wanted to include everyone, which is what our office does, but that didn’t happen,” Donati said. “(The parents who objected) made it very negative and we were all upset. It was very attacking.”

She said the clinic fully supports the student artist.

U statement released ThursdayGrant Public Schools said the mural will remain, although there will be some adjustments. Some characters, such as a video game character, will be removed because they were not part of the original application. The artist added them to fill in the blanks.

But LGBTQ flags were in the original, which Donati said was approved by the administration, so it appears the flags will remain.

“At Grant Public Schools, we are committed to fostering civility, respect, understanding and inclusion,” the district’s statement read in part. “We do not condone and will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or bullying in word, deed or social media.”

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