A Florida middle school teacher claims she was fired because she had a discussion with students about her sexuality, whom she says then asked to draw flag pictures expressing their own sexualities.
Casey Scott, a first-year art instructor at Cape Coral Middle School, told WBBH-TV that school administrators ordered her to throw out the drawings and fired her after learning she explained to students that she is pansexual.
“A discussion happened in class and because of that, now I’m fired,” Scott said.
The Lee County School District disputes her story, saying she was fired for not following the mandated curriculum, WBBH reports.
According to Scott, who is married to a man, the discussion concerned how she identifies as pansexual. To be pansexual means a person is not limited in sexual preference with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
"I like anyone despite male, female, non-binary, transgender,” Scott told WBBH.
She says that some of her middle school kids identify as non-binary, bisexual, and gay, and that they wanted to create art expressing their own sexualities.
Scott hung their artwork on the classroom door, and according to her, that's when school administrators contacted her.
“They said it would be in the best interest if I got rid of them now,” she said.
She provided WBBH with pictures of the flags, which were placed in a recycling bin.
“I went over to the recycling bin. I grabbed all their flags and all the kids were staring at me. And I crumbled their flags in front of them,” she recounted.
She said the school sent her home and then called her later that day to inform her she would be released from her contract.
According to the Lee School District, parents had registered complaints about the conversation and the artwork. The district said that students confirmed the discussion took place and that some were confused by what it meant to be pansexual, WBBH reports.
A representative with the Teachers Union of Lee County said that Scott was not a member and could legally be fired without cause.
The firing happened just days before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that prohibits discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity from taking place in K-3 classrooms, and restricts such topics to what is "age appropriate" or "developmentally appropriate" in higher grades, as determined by state standards.
Critics derided the legislation as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, arguing it imposes vague restrictions on what teachers are allowed to talk about in the classroom and would have a chilling effect on speech.
Supporters countered that Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" bill prevents young children from being exposed to sexual content that is inappropriate for them in school.