A Florida teacher said on Sunday that she is under investigation by the State Department of Education for screening the Disney movie Strange World to her fifth-grade students. A complaint was filed against her as the movie contained gay characters, which was found to be offensive by the complainant. The teacher has been identified as Jenna Barbee.

Who is Jenna Barbee?

Jenna Barbee, a fifth-grade teacher at Winding Waters School located in Hernando County, Florida, showed her students a PG-rated movie featuring actor Jake Gyllenhaal as a way to give them a break after taking exams. According to Barbee, all of her students had received permission to watch PG-rated movies from their parents or guardians. However, a parent and a member of the school board later raised concerns about the film’s portrayal of an LGBTQ character.

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The school board member was identified as Shannon Rodriguez by the Tallahassee Democrat. Barbee claimed that Rodriguez reported her to the Department of Education for alleged indoctrination.

Barbee is currently being investigated for potential violations of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t say gay” law, which prohibits teachings on gender and sexual identity to students in public schools. However, Barbee has defended her decision to show the PG-rated movie, stating that it contained educational content related to earth science and ecosystems that aligned with her students’ curriculum. Furthermore, she added that the film provided social and emotional lessons, such as the importance of overcoming differences, spreading kindness, effective communication, and pursuing one’s dreams.

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“Is a character in the movie LGBTQ? Absolutely. Is that why I showed it? No,” Barbee said in a TikTok video, defending her decision to show the movie.

“I have a lot of fifth-grade students who have come to me this year long before showing this movie talking about how they’re part of this community as well and it’s not a big deal to me so I said OK that’s awesome, you do you. Not pushing anything, just being accepting. That’s what I do,” she added.