SHORT TAKES : Mural of Jimi Hendrix to Stay

From Times Staff and wire service reports

A mural of the late guitarist Jimi Hendrix at a high school will not be whitewashed despite a petition by some students who object to the rock star's drug use.

"I hesitate to accept that Jimi Hendrix's life and work can or should be condensed into, 'He is a symbol of drug abuse,' " Ridgefield High School Principal Elaine Bessette said Monday.

Jonathan Fulkerson, the student who started the petition drive, said he is disappointed with the decision but added that more students wanted the mural than did not. He had said that it is hypocritical to display a symbol of the drug culture in school and collected nearly 100 signatures.

The rock guitarist died in 1970 at the age of 27 when he reportedly suffocated after swallowing a large quantity of barbiturates. The petition drive prompted the estate of Jimi Hendrix to issue an open letter defending the rock star as an artist.

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