A Florida elementary school has banned Ruby Bridges after a parent complained that the film would teach white students to hate Black children.
Ruby Bridges, the 1998 Disney film that depicts the life of a six-year-old who became the first Black student to integrate into her elementary school in New Orleans, was a staple of the Black History Month curriculum in Pinellas County for years.
However, Emily Conklin, the mother of a North Shore Elementary student, wrote in a complaint about the film on March 6 that “the use of racial slurs and scenes of white people threatening Ruby as she entered a school might result in students learning that white people hate Black people," the Tampa Bay Times reports.
In response to the complaint, the school district banned the film at North Shore Elementary “until a review committee can assess it.”
A number of advocates of the film pointed out the dangers of allowing one parent to censor school material.
Ric Davis, the president of Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students, penned in an open letter: “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.”
“The (Pinellas) district’s leadership appears to fear the potential consequences of not acting in the way they have on these two decisions," Davis continued. "This approach to challenging times in education in our state raises serious questions about Superintendent (Kevin) Hendrick’s leadership.”
Conklin was among two parents who refused to sign permission slips that allowed students to watch the film.