ST PETERSBURG, Fla. — A film about a black grad integrating an all-white Southern elementary school is under review by a Florida school district after a parent objected to the school's use of the profane film, saying it could "educate." the students. Whites hate blacks," school officials and CNN documents said.
In 2015, the parents of a second grader at North Shore Elementary School in St. They filed a formal complaint on March 6, demanding that the 1998 film Ruby Bridges be removed from the school's list of approved films. It comes after the film was shown to about 60 students on March 2 as part of Black History Month, Pinellas County Schools spokeswoman Isabelle Mascarenas told CNN.
In a copy of the complaint provided to CNN, the parent whose name was redacted wrote that the film was unsuitable for second graders and would be better suited for an eighth grade American history class. Parents objected in part to the film's racist overtones, depiction of a child putting a noose around a doll's neck, and characters threatening to hang.
The parent wrote that the film could teach students racial slurs, "how to be different" and "white people who hate black people."
After receiving the complaint, "the school will now participate in a formal appeals process to review the disputed material," Mascareñas said, referring to the district's policy on disputed educational materials.
He said the film had not been removed from all of the district's schools and is still in the district's film library.
Florida school curricula have become increasingly controversial as Republican lawmakers push for restrictions on instructional materials and tools that include race, sexuality and gender. Under the laws discovered by the government last year. There is a bill signed by Ron DeSantis that will require school library books to be pre-approved or reviewed by a Florida Department of Education-trained media specialist.
Two weeks before the film was shown at North Shore Elementary's second grade, consent forms were sent to the students' parents along with the Ruby Bridges trailer, Mascareñas said. The complaining parent said it was between two families who decided not to let their students see the film.
"Because the film was shown earlier, the parents were told that the school would not be showing it again this school year," Mascareñas said.
On November 14, 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, the film's namesake, became the first black student to enroll at William Franz Elementary School in New Orleans. Accompanied by four federal detectives, Bridges yelled insults and marched through the crowd. Angry white people. New Orleans schools were suspended by federal judge's order. The Supreme Court upheld racial segregation in public schools in Brown v. Brown fired. Education Council. The film tells the story in the form of a drama.
The film's screenwriter, Toni Ann Johnson, told CNN that second graders are never too young to watch the film when their teacher can provide the historical context and answer their questions. Teachers across the country told him the film was an "invaluable educational tool."
"The reason I think second grade isn't too young is because kids that age understand racial differences. Ruby was 6 years old when she served William Franz," Johnson said.
"When children are old enough to be called the N-word and learn what it means, seventh and eighth graders can and should start learning about the history of racism in this country." Johnson said:
"Parents who don't want their children to learn this story in public schools should have the right to vote," he said. "However, teachers should not have the right to prohibit other public school children from learning the Ruby Bridges story."