A fifth-grade teacher in Florida is under investigation for an alleged attempt to indoctrinate her students by showing a Disney movie. Jenna Barbee decided to put on a film to give students a “brain break” after a morning of standardized testing. “I chose [Disney’s movie ‘Strange World’ because it relates to our curriculum,” Barbee explained in a TikTok video that has since gone viral. “Our unit […] was Earth Science and ecosystems and how they interact with plants, humans, [and] animals.”
The movie also happens to include a gay character as one of the protagonists. Now, thanks to Florida’s now infamous “don’t say gay” bill, Barbee’s simple afternoon movie has become a nightmare for her, the school, and worst of all, her students.
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“None of my students cared or batted an eye,” Barbee recalls of the actual event. “They didn’t even know this was a big deal until the board member and the state made it a big deal.” Big deal, indeed. As a result of the investigation, fifth-grade students have had to endure “the Florida Department of Education coming to pull my students out of class […] to investigate them individually.”
“And by the way, they don’t even have to have a signed parent permission slip for that,” she says in the video. Barbee did have permission slips to allow the showing of PG movies in her classroom though.
The most heartbreaking part of the story is, of course, the negative impact on students. “I was taking stuff off the walls the other day, and I had a student come to me and say ‘Ms. Barbee, why are you doing this?’ And it’s because of the new law that was put out about everything being standard. And I said, ‘Well, this is what’s happening.’ And they said ‘Why don’t we get a say?’ That’s a good point.”