A bronze statue called The Spark standing at the entrance of The Armidale School's Creative Arts Centre will be removed by the school board, following allegations of physical and sex abuse against the teacher whose likeness was used to create the work.
It comes after Comrie Bucknell, who attended the school from 1966 to 1971, told The Sydney Morning Herald he was sexually abused while being caned by veteran teacher Desmond Lyle "Jim" Graham and wanted the statue gone.
Mr Graham, who taught at TAS for 43 years, died in July 2016.
Mr Bucknell said while he did not want to destroy the school, he did want it to recognise his incident with Jim Graham, who he described as sadistic.
This week, TAS chair Sebastian Hempel released a statement where he acknowledged Mr Graham's positive contribution and strong legacy to the school.
"The statue is not a tribute to anyone in particular, as evident by its title and description on the accompanying plaque," he said.
"However, it is now clear that a number of former students who see a likeness of Jim Graham associate the statue with their painful and unhappy experiences with TAS.
"In light of these fresh allegations the school board has decided the statue will be removed out of respect to those for whom it causes pain and suffering."
The statue depicts the ability of a teacher to ignite a spark in a student; the 'light bulb' moment.
It was commissioned by TAS Old Boy Michael Hoskins in 2008, who also made the school's creative arts centre, that bears his name, possible. He made the trip from Texas to unveil the statue in 2016.
"We invest in our teachers an almost sacred trust, to discover and light in succeeding generations that magic spark of learning and personal growth that resides in each child ..." Mr Hoskins said at the 2016 opening.
Artist Tanya Bartlett created the statue.
"I understand the need to take the statue down, and I understand the need if these allegations are correct, and if it is upsetting people," she told The Armidale Express on Wednesday.
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"But, when I was creating it, it was a beautiful thing with no negative connotations attached to it.
"It was commissioned by a very generous man who held positive and fond memories of his time at TAS."
She said although photographs of Jim Graham and a former TAS student Peter Cousens were used to create the statue, it was not so much about likenesses.
"The statue was intended to illustrate the moment any student is inspired by a teacher, any teacher," Ms Bartlett said.
"He helped build the Creative Arts Centre for the school, and this statue was Mike's full stop to the project."
Mr Hempel said it was not appropriate for the school to comment publicly on specific allegations.
"We wish to reiterate how important it is that any former victims report their experience to the school or the police," he said.
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