Disney Movie Gets Teacher Put Under Investigation

A fifth-grade teacher is under investigation by the Florida Department of Education after screening 2022’s Strange World during class.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

DIsney teacher

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Florida has been making the headlines in recent weeks and months with their various bills targeted at the LGBTQ+ community. While Disney has done its best to stand up against the outpouring of hate, it seems that a teacher in one of the state’s school districts is facing backlash after showing one of the studios’ movies to her classroom. CNN reports that a fifth-grade teacher is under investigation by the Florida Department of Education after screening 2022’s Strange World for her students. 

For a little background, Strange World was an animated film that came out around Thanksgiving in 2022. Featuring a voice cast that included Jack Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, Jaboukie Young-White, and Alan Tudyk, the film covers themes of family dynamics, fitting in, and adventure. As a very small side story, the Disney flick also features two young men who have romantic feelings for each other which is what left the teacher in hot water.

Strange World Gabrielle Union
Strange World

Ahead of screening the Disney movie, which was simply to fill in time on a half-day following standardized testing, the teacher, Jenna Barbee, says that she sent home permission slips with her classroom for their parents to sign which would allow them to watch a PG-rated film. After Strange Worlds was shown, a parent, who also happened to be a member of the Hernando County School District Board, lodged a complaint against Barbee to the school’s principal.

In the school’s eyes, this Disney title was a bridge too far as they slapped the teacher with a warning that revealed that the administration would be launching an investigation “to see if further corrective action is required.” The letter acknowledged that the romantic relationship between the two young men wasn’t “the main plot of the movie,” but that because it was in there, Barbee’s job was now up in the air. The message also said that this would be the last time the film would be shown in the school. 

Taking to TikTok to share her experience, Barbee broke down exactly what happened for her followers and fellow app users to take in. In her social media address, she identified herself as the educator that showed Strange World to her students only to face backlash from the higher-ups at her school. For showing the Disney movie to her students, the teacher said that she was “under investigation with the Florida Department of Education for indoctrination.” 

Should something actually come of this and Barbee lose her job over showing a Disney title that featured gay characters, she would be a teacher officially affected by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill that limits what educators are allowed to teach in their classrooms. The bill is a direct attack on the LGBTQ+ community as it is seemingly attempting to erase history and an entire group of people. With the House of Mouse already stepping up to the plate to take on the Governor and the rest of the far-right majority of Florida, it will be interesting to see what Bob Iger and his associates have to say about the Strange World fiasco.