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Ruby Bridges Film family055_mac.jpg The movie showing in the Hockett this evening, Ruby Bridges

Source: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Getty


A Florida school district has banned elementary students from watching a film centered on the life of civil rights icon Ruby Bridges.

According to NBC News, parents at the North Shore Elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida filed a complaint to ban the historical film from classrooms after it was shown earlier this month.

Ruby Bridges, directed by Toni Ann Johnson, documents the real-life trials and tribulations of Bridges after she became the first African American student to integrate her local New Orleans elementary school in 1960. The then-6-year-old was subjected to racism and discrimination during her fight for education and equality.

On March 2, the powerful historical drama was shown to 60 second grade students at North Shore Elementary. According to NBC News, each child was required to sign a permission slip to view the Disney film.

A link to the trailer was also provided in the permission slips for all parents to review, Pinellas County Schools public information officer Isabel Mascareñas told NBC News. 

One parent complained that the film was teaching students about “racial slurs”

After watching the first 50 minutes of the drama, one parent swiftly filed a complaint March 6. The parents of two other students also declined to allow their children to watch the film.

In the complaint, one parent claimed the film was teaching students about racial slurs and how “white people hate black people.”

Officials from Pinellas County Schools placed a temporary ban on Ruby Bridges after the parent urged for the drama to be removed from the school’s list of approved films.  The committee is now in the process of assessing whether to approve the film for future lessons.  It still remains available through the district’s licensed movie library.

After the upset parent filed the complaint, Mascareñas said in a statement, “it was communicated with the parent that the school would not have any future showings during this school year as the movie had already been shown.”

In the 1996 film, actress Chaz Monet portrayed Bridges. Soul Food actor Michael Beach played the role of her father while Lela Rochon starred as the anti-segregationist’s mother Lucille Bridges.

Ruby Bridges earned several nominations including a Christopher Award and a Gold Apple from the National Educational Media Network. It was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 1999.

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