A Disney film that tells of a 6-year-old’s integration into a white school in 1960’s New Orleans has never caused a disturbance until this year in a Pinellas County Florida elementary school.
A staple of Black History Month for years, the film was a target of a parent at North Shore Elementary who would not allow her child to watch it early in March, then later complained it was inappropriate for second graders, and claimed that it might teach that “white people hate black people.”
Ruby Bridges, a civil rights activist, described the importance of the film depicting her as a first-grader wading through a White mob more than six decades ago.
“I think it’s important to look at this film to see what a 6-year-old child had to go through, what a family went through just to be able to have the same privileges as everyone else,” she told the Florida Times-Union. “… I think ideally that people will think about that and do everything they can not to pass prejudice on to their children.”WaPo
Pinellas schools have banned the movie from use by all students at the St. Petersburg school until a review committee can assess it. While it remains available for other schools to use, the step is drawing strong opposition.
”Many from historically marginalized communities are asking whether this so-called integrated education system in Pinellas County can even serve the diverse community fairly and equitably,” wrote Ric Davis, president of Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students. The group has been active for years, often working with school district officials and at times battling them in court.