BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — The Hernando County School District's investigation of a teacher and her showing of a Disney film to her class has ended.
Winding Waters K-8 school teacher Jenna Barbee showed her fifth-grade class the PG-rated Disney movie “Strange World” earlier this month and controversy followed.
Barbee, a first-year teacher, said she showed the movie, which has a gay character, because it taught students about the Earth’s ecosystem.
What You Need To Know
- Hernando County schools investigation into teacher showing Disney movie to class has concluded
- School district said teacher Jenna Barbee did not get administrative approval to show the PG-rated movie "Strange World"
- Barbee, who teaches at Winding Waters K-8 in Brooksville, posted a video to TikTok that has gained national attention
One of her students, a school board member’s daughter, saw the movie and felt uncomfortable. She told her mother, Shannon Rodriguez, and backlash ensued.
The Hernando County School Board acknowledged Barbee had signed permission slips from parents to show PG-rated movies in class and that she connected the movie to the curriculum.
But school district officials said she needed administrative approval on all movies and did not get it.
The final report from the county said: “The investigation was completed regarding the parent complaint. You had the PG(-rated movies) approval forms for all of the students and had connected the movie to the curriculum being taught.” The school system maintained Barbee violated the staff handbook, saying, “You are reminded … that you must seek and receive administrative approval before showing a film or video.”
Barbee, speaking this week on CNN said she did not know that was the rule. Barbee, who has resigned, said a Florida Department of Education investigation is ongoing.
Spectrum News reached out to officials at the Florida Department of Education and they say while the teacher in question is openly discussing the matter, they can’t confirm or deny an investigation.
Spectrum News reached out Friday to Rodriguez but did not hear back.
The district is changing the location for the next school board meeting, as officials are expecting a larger than usual crowd, given the circumstances.
The May 30 meeting will be held at Hernando High School, in the campus theater. This applies to the board workshop at noon and the regular meeting at 6 p.m.
There will also be extra security measures in place. No bags, purses or backpacks will be allowed, and visitors will be screened by metal detectors.
Additional law enforcement officers and school guardians will also be present.