More than 100 speakers addressed the board about a number of topics, including calls for the superintendent to resign and a now-resigned teacher showing a Disney movie in class without proper approval.
The meeting lasted until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
What You Need To Know
- Hernando County Superintendent John Stratton survives no-confidence vote by a 3-2 vote
- Three state legislators wanted Stratton to step down, citing a lack of transparency around an issue with a teacher
- Meeting also addressed teacher showing Disney movie in class
Three state legislators wanted Stratton to step down, citing a lack of transparency around an issue with a teacher after sheriff’s deputies confiscated guns at the teacher’s home. Authorities said that the teacher told a school official she was having bad thoughts about wanting to shoot students.
By the end of the meeting, Stratton survived the no-confidence vote by a count of 3-2.
Speakers also wanted to talk about the investigation into now-former teacher Jenna Barbee and board member Shannon Rodriguez.
Rodriguez objected after Barbee showed her 5th grade class the PG-rated Disney movie Strange World. One of the characters is openly gay.
The county investigated the incident, as well as now the state’s department of education. Barbee spoke to the crowd, and read a poem.
“Right now, as a collective, I will tell you we are failing,” Barbee said. “The system is broken, the Earth is wailing. Let the students read and learn. Let the teachers teach. Everyone deserves to be represented. And that’s what we need to preach. We are the destruction, when we can be the light. So be kind to each other.
“Be powerful in this life. Power does not come from what you own, but the energy inside you, the power of love alone. Thank you.”
Rodriguez addressed speakers and the board about the controversy, too.
“A lot of time and energy has been spent on me,” she said. “I’m not, nor should I be, the focus of this debate. I’m just a mother who happened to be a school board member. I represent all the parents who want the final say in how their children are raised.”
Speakers brought up recent teacher resignations at the meeting. The teachers’ union president said the 33 resignations submitted this year were double the amount from this time last year.
As members of the crowd expressed their point of views on the ongoing controversies, some in the audience wore shirts in support of Stratton. Others in the audience showed their support for Rodriguez.
The superintendent also addressed the crowd, defending his record as an educator and saying he hopes the summer break gives the district a chance for a restart.