A Florida art teacher has been fired for addressing sexual orientation in the classroom.
Casey Scott, an art teacher in her first year with Trafalgar Middle School in Cape Coral, “was released from her probationary contract on April 18 following a complaint that she had been teaching lessons about different flags as they related to gender and sexuality,” the Fort Meyers News-Press reports.
Her termination occurred just weeks after the state’s governor Ron DeSantis signed the controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into law, which bans the discussion of sexual orientation and identity in kindergarten through third grade classrooms (Scott’s students were in the sixth and seventh grades).
The law doesn’t go into effect until July 1.
The News-Press reports that Scott, who had started teaching at Trafalgar Middle School in August 2021, had designed a lesson around pride flags after coming out as pansexual. In a statement made to the district, which the News-Press obtained, Scott wrote that she “wanted to show these kids that it’s better to be open about ourselves than to hide it away.”
In the lesson in question, Scott encouraged students to create flags that expressed who they were. She told a local news affiliate that she’d then displayed the students’ creations outside of her classroom, where they caught the attention of school officials. According to Scott, the officials told her to get rid of the flags, which she did. She was then informed that she was being released from her contract later that day.
The News-Press reports that the school had received a complaint from a parent regarding the lesson on the day Scott introduced the topic of sexuality into the classroom. A spokesperson for the school told the news outlet that Scott had been released for failing to follow the state-mandated curriculum.
Scott, who was still under a probationary contract with the school, could be released from that contract at any time “without cause,” Kevin Daly, president of the Lee County Teachers Association told the News-Press.