An elementary school teacher in Florida is under investigation for alleged “indoctrination” after she showed her students a Disney movie with a gay character
Another day, another horror story out of Florida’s public education system. Amid the state’s highly controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law (which prohibits educators from saying anything about sexual orientation or gender identity at school), a fifth-grade teacher is now under investigation for showing a Disney movie in her class that happened to include a gay character.
Teacher Jenna Barbee was reported to the school board after she allowed her students to watch Strange World, a 2022 PG-rated Disney film. She told the school board it contained no inappropriate content, it tied into her earth science lesson, and she had permission slips from all her students’ parents allowing them to watch PG-rated movies in class.
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But conservative school board member Shannon Rodriguez says Barbee violated district policy by not getting the movie approved by school administrators before showing it. She says a parent complained that the film wasn’t appropriate and that Barbee is now “playing the victim.”
“It is not a teacher’s job to impose their beliefs upon a child: religious, sexual orientation, gender identity, any of the above,” Rodriguez said. “But allowing movies such as this, assist teachers in opening a door, and please hear me, they assist teachers in opening the door for conversations that have no place in our classrooms.”
In a TikTok video, Barbee explained that she’s a first-year teacher, and the incident has left her wondering about her future in public education.
I am the teacher. Here is the truth. #indoctrination #disneymovie #disney #strangeworld #viraltweet♬ original sound – Jenna Lynn
“I’ve had to learn so much this year,” Barbee told reporters. “I work with teachers who have taught for 20 years, 30 years, tell me every day it never used to be like this. Times have changed so much and they are so micromanaged, they’re not allowed to teach anymore. They’re basically a caregiver who has to teach the standards. Teachers stay for the children, but because of the laws and the fear of being let go for saying one wrong thing, they can’t connect to their students.”
Even if it’s true that a parent complained about their child seeing a movie with a gay character in it, you have to wonder what they’re trying to accomplish here. Do these parents think their children will go through life without ever encountering a gay person? What’s the end goal?
Kids deserve education that accurately reflects the world around them, and teachers deserve to be able to teach (and connect with their students) in safe environments where they aren’t at risk of losing their jobs for situations like this.