Teacher Shows Controversial Disney Film, Gets Investigated

Strange World Cancelled

Many Disney films have been deemed controversial over the years. Such selections include Peter Pan (1953), Song of the South (1946), and Lightyear (2022). However, a more recent (and lesser known film) was recently shown in a Florida classroom.


Credit: Disney

A Strange World

The movie Strange World (2022) was not a financial success for Walt Disney Studios in any way. However, fifth-grade teacher Jenna Barbee is currently being investigated over showing her class the film. Although the film’s main plot focuses around environmental ideas, a subplot centers around a teenage gay character.

strange world

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Will Disney+ Streaming Save ‘Strange World’

The teacher is now under investigation by the State of Florida after a parent reported the showing of the film to the State Department of Education.

The misconduct allegations come in the wake of the Parental Rights In Education Act, also called the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the law to stop “woke indoctrination” in public education. The former bill, now law, is also at the heart of the ongoing battle between the Disney Company and Governor Ron DeSantis.

The Teacher Speaks

The first-year Florida teacher said she showed some students the film after they finished taking standardized tests. It related to their current lesson plans about earth science and ecosystems.

Teacher Investigated Strange World

Credit: becomingabetterbarbee/TikTok

“My thought process was, what better way to showcase all these standards, along with huge lessons of overcoming differences, spreading kindness, communication, and chasing your dreams, a lot of which are in our social and emotional Florida Best standards as well,” said the teacher under investigation, Jenna Barbee.

Jenna Barbee said that only one of her students had a content exemption for movies – their parents didn’t want them watching Lightyear (2022) – but that student wasn’t present that day.

RELATED: Critics Can No Longer Blame ‘Wokeness’ For Theatrical Flop as ‘Strange World’ Dominates Disney+

Barbee said her students were fine with the Disney movie until the investigation began. “The board member and the state made it a big deal. They’re using it against me, saying they’re protecting the children and it’s for their safety, but what is this actually showing them?” she asked.

The Parent Speaks

Hernando County School District Board member Shannon Rodriguez is the parent who took issue. She stated that Jenna Barbee should have gotten the specific movie approved by the school administration. “It is not a teacher’s job to impose their beliefs upon a child: religious, sexual orientation, gender identity, any of the above,” Rodriguez said at a May 9 school board meeting.

Shannon Rodriguez

Credit: Hernando School District

RELATED: Major New Twist in Disney vs. DeSantis Saga

Florida Department of Education press secretary Cassie Palelis said the complaint against Jenna Barbee would be reviewed. Afterward, an attorney will provide a recommendation to the commissioner for next steps.

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)