Florida Investigating Teacher for Showing Disney Film

She was reported to state department of education for showing 'Strange World'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2023 3:00 AM CDT
Florida Teacher Under Investigation for Showing Disney Movie in Class
This image released by Disney shows Meridian Clade, voiced by Gabrielle Union, Searcher Clade, voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaeger Clade, voiced by Dennis Quaid, Callisto Mal, voiced by Lucy Liu, Ethan Clade, voiced by Jaboukie Young-White in a scene from the film "Strange World."   (Disney via AP)

A fifth-grade teacher in Florida is under investigation for showing students the Disney film Strange World, which features a gay character. Jenna Barbee, who released a TikTok video telling her side of the story over the weekend, says she showed the movie while part of her class finished state testing, because she figured it was a way to give students a break after the morning of testing while their classmates weren't back yet, while also connecting to curriculum on earth science and ecosystems that they were studying. But the parent of one student is a school board member and reported Barbee because one of the movie's characters is gay (the first out, gay character in a Disney movie), and the film includes a brief discussion of his crush on a same-sex character, the Guardian reports.

Barbee says the entire 5th-grade team at Winding Waters school in Hernando County have signed permission slips from parents allowing PG-rated movies to be shown. She says she was reported to the state department of education for "indoctrination" and is under investigation for a possible violation of Florida's so-called "don't say gay" law, which bans teaching about gender and sexual identity in schools. Barbee says students have been removed from class to be questioned as part of the investigation, a process she says could be "traumatizing" for the 10- and 11-year-olds. The Tallahassee Democrat names the school board member who reported Barbee as Shannon Rodriguez, a member of the right-wing Moms for Liberty group who has previously called for books she refers to as "smut" to be removed from the school library. (More Florida stories.)

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