Teacher 'Under Investigation' For Showing Her Students A Disney Movie Shares Her Side Of The Story

All she did was show a Disney movie in class, what's the harm in that?

Florida teacher under investigation TikTok TikTok; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Florida Department of Education is currently investigating an elementary school teacher from Florida after she was reported for showing a Disney movie in her classroom.

The fifth-grade teacher, Jenna Barbee, was reported by a mother who didn’t want her child to be exposed to a particular theme from the animated Disney movie “Strange World.”

The Florida Teacher was reported because the main character in Disney's ‘Strange World’ is gay.

Under Ron DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” act in Florida, a school board member (and parent) was able to report her after her child was exposed to an LGBTQ character during the screening of “Strange World,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal.


The Parental Rights in Education Act, signed by Gov. DeSantis last year, prohibits teachers from teaching about gender and sexual identity. However, Barbee insists that was never her goal. She took to TikTok to share her thoughts on the ongoing investigation.

She claims that all she wanted to do was give her kids a break from all of the standardized tests they had been taking and allow their minds to relax with a movie relevant to their in-class subject matter.



Jenna Barbee claims that she had permission from her kids’ parents to show the movie in class.

“I want to bring up the issue that I’m in trouble for,” she explains in a TikTok. “I was told by every teacher and mentor at our school that our method for approval by administration of showing movies was to have a signed parent permission slip for PG movies.”


“I had that, from the beginning of the year,” she said, referring to the permission slips. “The whole 5th-grade team had signed permission slips for PG movies with no objections to specific content. I actually had one student who did have [an] objection to specific content — not showing the ‘Buzz Lightyear’ movie — but she wasn’t in my classroom anymore.”

However, Barbee was still reported by a different parent, who has been identified as Shannon Rodriguez according to Tallahassee Democrat. Barbee alleges that this school board member is “on a rampage to get rid of every form of representation out of our schools.”

“The school board member called the Department of Education on me for indoctrination before ever coming to our school to talk with me or admin about the situation,” Barbee explains, but she did eventually come to the school.

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Barbee and the school board member solved the issue personally, but it was too late.

The mom was told that she couldn’t come to the school as a school board member, but she could schedule a meeting as a concerned parent, so she did.

“We had a meeting,” Barbee explains, “and I understood her perspective that, OK, she really doesn’t want this shown at her house. I never saw that perspective before so I didn’t think it was a big deal, but seeing how upset she was, I told her I understand my lesson, that’s that.”

Unfortunately, even though they were able to talk it out in person, Rodriguez had already reported Barbee, and so she remains under investigation anyway.

She claims that the movie was a 'perfect' way to teach valuable lessons while staying on the subject.

“It relates to our curriculum. Our unit at the time was ‘Earth Science’ and ecosystems and how they interact — Plants, humans, [and] animals — so this movie’s perfect.” Not only was the movie perfect for the subject she was currently teaching, but she also claims that they follow the Social/Emotional Florida B.E.S.T. Standards, also known as SEL (Social and Emotional Learning).


“Is a character in the movie LGBTQ? Absolutely, is that why I showed it? No,” She explained. “I have a lot of 5th-grade students who have come to me this year long before showing this movie, talking about how they’re a part of that community as well.”

She wants to emphasize that none of her students made any fuss about the content and that it didn’t matter to anyone until the school board and administration made it matter. She claims her students had just started getting comfortable with her, and now they have to deal with an ongoing investigation that would involve them moving between classrooms and being interrogated by strangers. “Do you know the trauma that that’s going to cause some of my students?”

The investigation is still ongoing so Barbee remains at the mercy of the Department of Education until further notice.


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.