Florida School Bans Disney Movie About Black Civil Rights Activist After Parent Complaint

ruby bridges florida school ban

Florida has been going up against Disney constantly for the last year. Starting with when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, officially known as the Parental Rights in Education Act, the Walt Disney Company and the state of Florida have been going back and forth in a move that ultimately resulted in the dissolution of the special status afforded to Reedy Creek. Most recently, Disney has reportedly hit back by stripping the specially appointed board of its power.

magic kingdom cinderella castle

“Partners Statue” in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort, Central Florida/Courtesy of Disney

However, as that has been forming the context for the current strained relationship between Florida and the Mouse House, in the latest news, a Florida school has banned a 1998 Disney movie about civil rights activist Ruby Bridges. The eponymously titled film is the real-life tale of young Ruby Bridges (played by Chaz Monet), one of the first African-American children to attend an integrated school in the Deep South. At the age of 6, Ruby was selected to attend an all-white school in New Orleans; but this turn of events caused an uproar with protests from those who did not want to see the end of segregation at the time. The teacher that young Ruby Bridges forms a deep connection with is played by Penelope Ann Miller, and she helps the child learn despite the tensions that brew outside the school building.

This movie has proven to be showing too much “hatred,” and one Florida parent did not want her child to watch it. As first reported by Tampa Bay Times, the mother, Emily Conklin, felt the movie was “inappropriate” for a second grader and wrote a formal complaint about it to the school, worrying that the racial slurs and scenes of white people threatening 6-year-old Ruby as she entered a school (shared in the clip above) might teach white students to “hate Black people.”

ruby bridges disney movie

“Ruby Bridges” a 1998 Disney movie / Credit: Disney

As of this complaint, students at North Shore Elementary school in St Petersburg are no longer allowed to watch the movie until it has been reviewed further, but other Pinellas County schools have no such restriction. The movie has been a staple of Pinellas County Black History Month lessons for many years now.

The movie is currently unrated on Disney+.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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