Florida Teacher's Choice of 'strange World' Movie Provokes Investigation and Controversy

Florida Teacher’s Choice of ‘strange World’ Movie Provokes Investigation and Controversy

The Florida Department of Education is looking into a fifth-grade teacher who showed Disney’s 2022 animation movie Strange World to her class. The teacher is being investigated for “inappropriate behavior.”

The choice to show the movie as a “brain break” came after a long morning of tests.

In the movie, there is a character named Ethan who is publicly gay, and there is also a love story between Ethan and his crush, Diazo.

Barbee went on TikTok to explain why she chose the movie. She said that it fits with the class’s present curriculum, which is about ecosystems. Even though she said that the LGBTQ+ part of the movie wasn’t the main reason for showing it, she called it “harmless.”

Barbee says that she was reported to the state by a member of the school board who is against any kind of participation in schools. Strange World was shown in the classroom where the board member’s daughter was also present.

Carl Zee, who is friends with Barbee, sent out a tweet on May 11 that showed a letter from the Florida Department of Education that said the teacher is being investigated for “inappropriate conduct.”

In the letter, people who could be witnesses or who had relevant papers were told to give them to the right office within two weeks.

Barbee posted a TikTok on May 13 about how surprised her kids were when they realized how important the event was.

“They didn’t even know this was a big deal until the board member and the state made it a big deal,” she said in her 6-minute video.

She said that each student’s parent had signed a permission slip for a PG movie from Disney.

Barbee questioned why the investigation was being done and was worried about the message it would send to the kids. “They’re using it against me by saying they’re ‘saving the children’ and doing it to keep them safe. “But what does this show them?” she asked herself.

Barbee also said that the study was more “traumatizing” for the kids than the movie itself.

“But the small things that have nothing to do with the movie are such a big deal that now the administration is in their room, pulling their teacher out, and calling the students one by one to the office to question them in the middle of my lessons,” she said.

Barbee said that some of her students told her before the movie that they were part of the LGBTQ+ group.

Barbee said, “For those of you who hate me without knowing me or my true intentions, that movie might teach you a thing or two.” Follow your heart and you’ll find kindness and care. It’s the key to a happier and more successful life.”

After Barbee’s video and the letter were shared on Twitter, a lot of people asked Disney to help the teacher by giving her money or legal advice.

This investigation is happening at the same time that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to crack down on problems related to LGBTQ+ people. This is because of his controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The law makes it illegal to talk about gender and sexuality in school, and it now applies to all grades in the state. Activists have said that the law is too vague and that almost anything could be seen as a violation. This could cause teachers to censor themselves and stop them from having important talks.

Several new laws have been passed, including ones that limit abortion, ban some books, let medical discrimination happen, and make it illegal to talk about gender identity.

On April 12, Equality Florida told members of the LGBTQ+ community that they shouldn’t come to the state.

Observers say that DeSantis seems to be getting ready for a run for president in 2024.

 

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