Florida art teacher fired after talking to students about sexuality
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida teacher who talked to her students about their sexuality has been fired, NBC 2 reported.
Casey Scott, an art teacher at Trafalgar Middle School in Cape Coral, said she was discussing the topic of sexuality with her students and told them she was pansexual.
She said her students asked to let them draw pictures that illustrate their sexual preferences. Some of the students identify as non-binary, bisexual and gay, and drew Pride flags that represented them personally.
After Scott hung their artwork on her classroom door, school staff had her take it down.
“They said it would be in the best interest if I got rid of them now,” she said. “I went over to the recycling bin. I grabbed all their flags and all the kids were staring at me. And I crumbled their flags in front of them.”
Scott said she was told to go home, and the next day, they informed her she was being released from her contract.
“A discussion happened in class and because of that, now I’m fired,” Scott told the news station.
The Lee County School District told NBC 2 it got complaints from parents who were concerned about the artwork, and that Scott was fired because she did not follow the mandated curriculum.
She did not belong to a teacher’s union and was still in the probationary period for new hires, therefore the district was within their legal rights to fire her, according to Kevin Daly, a representative from the Teachers Union of Lee County.
“During that probationary period they can let you go without cause,” Daly said.
“There is kind of a heightened state of where is the boundary? And what are employees supposed to do? Or allowed to do, when a topic comes up in discussion,” he added.
Scott’s termination came just days before Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades kindergarten through third grade.
The law, officially entitled “Parental Rights in Education” but referred to by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has drawn sharp criticism from LGBTQ advocates who worry it will have far-reaching implications for Florida students and teachers, as well as school districts.
Crystal Czyscon, an LGBTQ advocate, belives the school district made a mistake by firing Scott.
“I would like to see a statement from the school board recognizing they have to have a mental health counselor come in and speak with the children impacted by their actions toward this teacher,” Czyscon said.