Parents outraged over postcard from teacher

By Ed Brock

Sharon and Byron Fallaw are upset and confused about why their son's third-grade teacher sent him a postcard they consider pornographic.

They were so upset they called the police department in the northern Clayton County community of Forest Park but were told that no charges would be filed against the teacher because nothing was illegal.

The postcard, sent by teacher Monte Huey to 8-year-old Cody Fallaw to congratulate him for his high test scores, bears the image of the abstract painting "Zulma" by Henri Matisse.

"It's the silhouette of a naked woman," an upset Sharon Fallaw maintained.

Byron Fallaw said that they are very careful to monitor what their two sons see on television.

The Fallaws had considered Huey to be a good teacher. Sharon Fallaw even wrote a letter of reference for Huey, calling her "highly organized" with "such enthusiasm in her teachings."

But their opinion changed when Cody brought the card in from the mailbox.

"He came running to the door and said ?Mommy, Mommy, there's a naked lady on this," Byron Fallaw said.

"To see something like this, it was absolutely ludicrous in my book," Fallaw said.

Huey could not be reached for a comment about the postcard. She has resigned from her job at J.E. Edmonds Elementary School in Forest Park to take a teaching job in Europe. Her Atlanta telephone number has been disconnected and the postcard, which the Fallaws received Thursday evening, was sent from Birmingham, Ala.

Byron Fallaw said Huey's mother lives in Birmingham.

Sending the card was "a case of bad judgment," said Clayton County School Area 1 Assistant Superintendent Jackie Hubbert. Hubbert added that the school's principal told her that Huey sent congratulatory postcards to several children and they have not received any other complaints.

"From what I understand she is a good teacher so I don't know why she would send it," Hubbert said. "I applaud her for sending cards to congratulate students but I wish she had picked another card."

Hubbert said she would talk to the Clayton County Schools personnel department and notify Huey by mail if the postcard is found to have violated any rules.

According to the Spaightwood Gallery Web site, "Zulma" is a paper cut-out and gouache produced under Matisse's supervision in 1950 for the deluxe art review "Verve." Matisse died in 1954 before the review was printed.