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Review board allows Ruby Bridges movie to be shown at elementary school after parent complaint

<i>AP/FILE</i><br/>Deputy Marshals escort 6-year-old Ruby Bridges from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans
Deputy Marshals escort 6-year-old Ruby Bridges from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans

By Justin Gamble and Nicole Chavez, CNN

A review board voted Monday to continue the use of the 1998 movie “Ruby Bridges” as part of the curriculum at a Florida elementary school, according to Pinellas County Schools.

The film came under scrutiny last month when a parent at North Shore Elementary School filed a complaint, objecting to the movie’s use of slurs and arguing it could teach students that “White people hate Black people,” CNN previously reported.

Before the vote, the eight-person committee of teachers, parents, community members and a library media technology specialist watched the film and reviewed the objection form as well as the school district policy, the district said in a statement.

The committee also heard from teachers who have used the movie in the classroom, and a district content specialist. The parent who filed the complaint was invited to speak to the committee but did not attend Monday’s meeting, the school district said.

Toni Ann Johnson, the movie’s screenwriter, told CNN on Tuesday that she is grateful to the committee for doing “the right thing.”

“While I don’t think it ever should have had to come to a vote, I am proud of and grateful to the people who did the right thing. I was losing faith in us and our ability to stand up to those who want to suppress history and suppress inclusive instruction in schools,” Johnson said.

The film is now expected to remain available to all schools in the Pinellas County district as part of the approved movie library with no additional restrictions other than those already in place for teachers wishing to show PG-rated films, the school district said in a statement. Currently, the district says, parental permission is needed before a student can view a PG-rated film.

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