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Disney CEO Bob Chapek
Disney CEO Bob Chapek Credit: Disney

OpEd: Disney Delivers Proper Response to Parental Rights in Education Bill

Distancing himself from his predecessor, Bob Iger, Bob Chapek has kept himself and The Walt Disney Company rather mute when it comes to politics, particularly regarding a hot-topic education bill making its way through the Florida Legislature.

Chapek has gotten severe backlash for this decision. And even after reports have come out showing him wanting to address the matter internally with Disney employees and releasing a statement on the matter (shared below), the LGBTQ+ contingent of Disney folk and their allies have continued to voice their outrage.

Bob Chapek

But what is the man supposed to do? Where is the need for action, and why should a massive media corporation fight against the voices of individual parents in matters of government? The answer is nothing, and there is none. His statement is more than sufficient and demonstrates his understanding that Disney’s duty is not to take a stand in public politics but in privatized entertainment.

The Parental Rights in Education Bill

Nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the Parental Rights in Education Bill–if passed into law–will prohibit public school teachers from lecturing primary school kids on matters regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to NPR,

“The Republican sponsor behind HB 1557 says it aims to have schools teach gender and sexuality at an appropriate age and to keep parents informed about what’s happening in the classroom.

“The legislation prohibits any instruction about sexuality or gender between kindergarten and third grade ‘or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.'”

It was named the Parental Rights in Education bill to put the power of having such conversations back into the hands of parents who have felt rather helpless in the fight against public school curriculums seeking to prioritize the teaching that there are more kinds of people than just boys and girls over other subjects. And it goes even farther to prohibit ANY teaching of sexuality with kids so young.

“Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write,” DeSantis said, according to NBC. “They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, what makes our country unique, all those basic stuff.”

“The larger issue with all of this is parents must have a seat at the table when it comes to what’s going on in their schools,” he added.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: WFLA

Read More: Despite Backlash, Chapek Keeps Disney Quiet on Florida Politics – Here’s Why

This is a bill that comes from concerned parents across the Sunshine State who rightfully want to retain power over their own children’s education and want to avoid oversexualizing their first graders’ minds and is only enforceable on the school system. Classroom discussions.

Disney Educating Entertainment

Walt Disney with Wernher von Braun and his team.

Credit: AL.com

Readers, how many of you can honestly say that every single thing you learned was in the classroom, and you learned absolutely nothing from the movies and television shows you watched–never mind real-life experiences with friends and enemies?

Walt Disney was an avid learner and sought to educate his audiences from his Real Life Adventures Series to showcasing Wernher von Braun on his television show. There are kids who watch Dick van Dyke show them that chimney sweeps were a thing in Mary Poppins, whose first exposure to Islam is hearing the Sultan from the now-politically-incorrect animated classic Aladdin shout, “Praise Allah!” and who discover what a botanist is watching Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise. Education not only betters entertainment but it is necessary to its success. “Show them something they have never seen before,” right?

Jungle Cruise

Credit: Disney

Disney entertains and educates.

The Walt Disney Company is one of, if not the biggest media mogul in the world! It is a globally recognized brand with unmatched outreach to young people. It doesn’t need to be aligned with the school system to “educate” young kids on issues.

Look at Rise Up Sing Out! Did Disney need to be aligned with Tallahassee and the Florida School System to produce a show that teaches about critical race theory and microaggressions? Absolutely not. Did Disney need to clear its Sparkshort Out or the gay character in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series with DeSantis and Florida parents? No.

Rise Up Sing Out

Credit: Disney

We live in a free country with Freedom of Speech protected as its first constitutional amendment. It is in the private sector that truly free education is shared. Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek understands this!

In a statement shared by Good Morning America, Disney released the following statement saying,

“The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce.”

Related: From a Stockholder: 3 Problems The Walt Disney Company Needs to Fix NOW

I should clarify that in no way do I personally condone Disney drowning kindergartners with critical race theory or sexual education like gender identity in any sense. I simply mean to state the fact that content is king, and it is through Disney’s content that what is not taught in schools can still be received.

One more thing: It’s called the Parental Rights in Education Bill. As a Floridian, I know scores of parents all over the Sunshine State who are eager for this bill to pass. So let me ask you all:

Who pays for the Disney+ subscriptions?

Who buys toys and clothes on shopDisney, and The Disney Store?

Who pays for the expensive trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World and voyages on Disney Cruise Line?

Parents.

We “Disney Adults” can say whatever we want and throw as much money as we want. If Disney decides to take its content and direction take it to where it no longer aligns with what parents want for their kids, it is going to suffer the financial consequences.

Bob Chapek is looking to take care of his own people, and at the end of the day, that’s all anybody can do.

About T.K. Bosacki

TK is a writer and editor based in Tampa, FL with a passion for all things Disney, and adventure.