For months, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been on a crusade to rid Florida of what he considers a “woke” agenda. This includes ending certain college-level African American studies courses, sending back math textbooks for containing “Critical Race Theory”, and removing certain books from libraries. These moves are all in conjunction with the Parental Rights in Education bill that bans the mention of things like sexual orientation and gender identity in grades Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Florida educators have been struggling with how to adapt to these new restrictions. One teacher is now learning just how careful they need to be.
A few days ago, news broke that a Florida teacher was being investigated for showing her class the new Disney film Strange World. The teacher received a letter saying that she was being investigated over whether she engaged in “inappropriate conduct.” Sadly, the teacher has since resigned, saying that she can’t teach for fear over “politics and the fear of not being able to be who you are”. The teacher further claims that she was not trying to “indoctrinate” her students and had sent out slips to parents that gave her permission to show films by Disney and Dreamworks.
While that may seem like the end of the story, it is not. According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, state officials are considering speaking to students from the class in question.
A letter sent home to parents Friday and obtained by the Miami Herald indicated a representative from the Office of Professional Practices of the state’s education department “will be on campus on or about Wednesday, May 17, 2023.” If the parent has no objection, the representative “may interview your daughter/son in connection with an investigation of a Florida certified educator,” the letter read.
The expected visit would be the first time a department official is to visit the school since the investigation’s onset. On Monday, the department confirmed no one from the state had visited the school, “nor has contacted any students” about the movie. Barbee, however, said some students last week were questioned about the event by school administration.
The teacher in question has said that her students film did not realize that the film had a gay couple in it until the story hit the news. She said that they asked why there was an issue with the film and she told the students to ask their parents. There was even a section parents could fill out with certain films they didn’t want shown. No parent listed any film on the list.