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Teacher at center of Florida controversy suggests parents lose their rights when children attend public school: 'Those rights are gone'
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Teacher at center of Florida controversy suggests parents lose their rights when children attend public school: 'Those rights are gone'

The Florida teacher who is under investigation for showing a movie with gay characters to students suggested Tuesday that parents lose rights over their children when the children attend public school.

What is the background?

As TheBlaze reported, the Florida Department of Education and Hernando County School District are investigating fifth-grade teacher Jenna Barbee for showing her students the Disney movie "Strange World," which features a gay character. School officials allege Barbee did not get approval from administrators before showing the movie.

Shannon Rodriguez, a school board member and parent, explained at a May 9 school board meeting why she believes it was wrong for Barbee to play the movie.

"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. "But allowing movies such as this assist teachers in opening a door — and please hear me — they assist teachers in opening a door for conversations that have no place in our classrooms."

What did Barbee say?

Speaking on CNN, Barbee said parents like Rodriguez are "ignorant." Even more shocking, she suggested that parental rights don't apply in public school.

"What she's missing and what these parents are missing is: They're not in the school system," she said. "That just shows me that she's ignorant and has not come and volunteered at all because these conversations, these doors, they're open. These students have one-to-one devices."

Speaking of parental rights, Barbee then declared, "those rights are gone when your child is in the public school system because there are students talking about these things."

"It's where they get 90% of their socialization for the day," she added. "And we can't shut down every conversation every child has."

Barbee also used the interview as an opportunity to criticize Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for removing "diversity elements" from public schools.

"They're trying to strip individuality and diversity to fit one common agenda — and it's ruining everything," she claimed. "It's not what America stands for."

Last year, Florida passed the Parental Rights in Education Act, which prohibits educators from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, grades K–3. The law was later expanded to include other grades when the lessons are deemed not "age appropriate." Florida believes parents are better suited to handle such topics.

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