Florida Teacher Investigated for Showing Movie with Gay Character

Florida Teacher Under Investigation for Showing Disney Movie with Gay Character

/ 12:03 AM May 17, 2023

In a recent incident that has raised debate and controversy, a Florida teacher is under investigation for showing a Disney movie as a tool for “indoctrination.” The movie involved features Disney’s first gay character.

A fifth-grade educator at Winding Waters K-8 in Brooksville, Jenna Barbee, Florida, is under scrutiny. This is following her decision to show the 2022 Disney movie, “Strange World,” to her students.

Barbee played the film after the students had done their standardized exams early. Jaboukie Young-White voiced over for the gay teen in the movie.

In addition, Barbee knows the school’s protocol for fifth-grade students to have permission from parents to watch PG-rated films. She had requested these permissions at the beginning of the school year. And no parent objected to her proposal.

However, the issue escalated when a school board member reported it to the Department of Education. The one who reported was also a parent of one of Barbee’s students who had watched the film under her guidance.

The board member was known for their disapproval of representations at school, accusing Barbee of indoctrination. The Florida teacher, however, was firm that her actions were not based on the LGBTQ+ character in the movie.

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The teacher stated, “Is a character in the movie LGBTQ? Absolutely. Is that why I showed it? No.”

Students’ Reactions and Aftermath

On a positive note, Barbee said that her students did not perceive the involvement of LGBTQ+ characters as unusual. The incident became a “big deal” after the school board member and the state argued about it.

This issue happened against the scene of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ continuous conflict with Disney and the recent extension of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. This law prohibited banning the discussion of LGBTQ+ content from kindergarten through third-grade classes.

Since then, the law has been extended to all public classes of K-12. Disney has filed a lawsuit against Florida. The media giant was claiming the law breaches freedom of speech.

Amid the ongoing investigation, Barbee is still committed to providing a welcoming and safe space for all her students.

She said, “I am not and never would indoctrinate anyone to follow my beliefs. I will, however, always be a safe person to come to that spreads the message of kindness, positivity, and compassion for everyone. That is the key to the safety for our children.”

This issue highlights the sensitive balance between representation, education, and legalities that Florida teachers and other educators face daily.

As the situation progresses, it proves that this story is essential in the ongoing debate about LGBTQ+ representation in schools.

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TAGS: Disney, Florida, LGBTQ, Trending
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