HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Hernando County school board members voted 3-2 in favor of Superintendent John Stratton during Tuesday’s 8-hour meeting.
Earlier in the month Jenna Barbee, a fifth-grade teacher at Winding Waters K-8 showed students Disney’s ‘Strange World’. The PG-rated movie includes the depiction of a gay teenager. Barbee admitted she didn’t receive the required approval before showing the film.
Prior to the incident, Barbee filed her resignation with the Hernando County School District. According to documents, her last day employed by the district is June 2.
School board member Shannon Rodriguez reported the situation to the Florida Department of Education. The state launched an investigation and interviewed students.
More than 600 people packed the theater at Hernando High School Tuesday, where discussion continued until after 2 a.m. Wednesday. Nearly 150 individuals voiced opinions about the classroom movie controversy.
Parent Rebecca Yuengling said, “I believe the teacher should have followed school policy and she didn’t follow school policy, which she admitted.”
Another mom, Susan Fogel explained, “I’m passionate about public education and keeping our schools open to learning. Our children’s minds are being closed by closed minded people.”
Some individuals at the meeting wore shirts in support of the superintendent. The shirts read ‘#StrattonStays’. Three Florida legislators from the area are calling for Stratton’s resignation.
Tuesday morning State Senator Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), State Representative Jeff Holcomb (R-Spring Hill) and State Representative John Temple (R-Wildwood) issued the following joint statement:Today, we are collectively calling for the resignation of Hernando Schools Superintendent John Stratton. It is clear to us that Superintendent Stratton has lost the confidence of parents, grandparents and our community. We can no longer sit back and allow the Hernando County school system to make national news for its poor decisions, lack of transparency and accountability, and its contempt for parental rights. Whether it is pornographic material in our schools, not notifying parents when their children may have been around an alleged pedophile, or allowing a teacher back in the classroom after threatening to kill students, it is clear to us that change is needed, and it is needed now.
An online petition demanding the removal of school board member Shannon Rodriguez has received more than 25,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.