An elementary school in Florida is taking criticism for pulling the Disney film Ruby Bridges out of circulation for its students. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the movie tells the true story of how Ruby, a Black 6-year-old girl, set off a firestorm when she attended a previously all-white school in New Orleans in 1960. After the parent of a student at North Shore Elementary School in St. Petersburg complained that the film wasn't appropriate for second graders, district officials in Pinellas County decided to pull the film until a review panel can take a look.
The parent complained that scenes of white people shouting racial epithets sent the wrong message to children, and a group that represents the interests of Black children in Pinellas schools has questioned why the views of one parent should carry so much sway. "At the highest level of decision-making in the district, they have to have more sensitivity to the diversity of the community they serve, and not overreact because one white person objected to something," said Ric Davis, president of Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students. The district hasn't set a review date.
Today, the real Ruby Bridges is an author and civil rights activist, and NPR interviewed her last year about her famous experience. Among other things, she recalls not quite understanding what was happening at the time. "I did not have a clue [about why people were yelling]," she said. "But I have to say, living in New Orleans all my life and even then, I was accustomed to Mardi Gras. And that's exactly what it looked like to me. White people, Black people all lined up together, shouting and waving their hands and throwing things. And so I actually thought we would see a parade." (Read more Florida stories.)