A Florida woman claims her children were shown 20 to 30 minutes of a gory horror film during class – and says the school “let her down” after hearing her complaints.
Michelle Diaz said her fourth-grade twins were left scarred after their math teacher at their charter school, the Academy of Innovative Education in Miami Springs, showed them “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.”
The horror film was released in February and is not rated, but contains several scenes of torture and depictions of detailed injuries, as well as nudity and profanity.
Diaz claims the children asked the teacher to turn off the device, but they were ignored.
“He didn’t stop the movie, even though some kids said, ‘Hey, stop the movie, we don’t want to want that,'” she said CBS News.
Michelle Diaz, the mother of two fourth-graders at the Academy of Innovative Education in Miami Springs, claimed her children were shown a gory horror film in class
The film, titled Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, depicts the classic fictional characters as bloodthirsty murderers who stalk a group of female college students
Dressed in rubber masks, Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet murder their victims in a variety of ways, including strangling them and feeding them to a wood chipper
The children were shown the film on October 2nd and came home distraught. Diaz immediately complained to the administration – but her concerns, she claims, were ignored.
“I feel completely let down by the school,” she said after leaving a meeting with the director of the Academy of Innovative Education in Miami Springs.
In the film, Winnie-The-Pooh and Piglet, enraged after being abandoned by Christopher Robin, go on a murderous rampage.
The killers – bloated, rubbery representations of the characters they are supposed to portray – hunt down a group of female students with machetes and guns.
Victims are beaten to death with sledgehammers, put into wood chippers and strangled with chains.
Diaz claimed the students chose the film, but said, “It’s not up to them to decide what they want.”
“It’s up to the professor to look at the content.”
Diaz claims the teacher didn’t stop the scary movie even though other students told him to turn it off
In addition to the gratuitous violence, the film also makes use of the use of profanity in the nudity – in one scene, a woman’s top falls down while she is being attacked
In a statement, the school acknowledged that a mental health counselor had already met with several students, but stressed that the administration had “taken appropriate action.”
The school issued a statement admitting that a mental health counselor had already met with some students.
“The Academy for Innovative Education has become aware that on Monday, October 2, 2023, fourth graders were shown an excerpt from a horror film that was not suitable for their age group,” it said.
“Our administration immediately addressed this issue directly with the teacher and took appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of students.”
Principal Vera Hirsh also spoke to the Miami New Times.
She said: “As soon as the teacher realized what was being shown, the film was turned off.”
Hirsh also denied that the students were shown violence, adding, “Most of the film’s grisly murder scenes take place later in the film.”
She said the issue had been “thoroughly addressed with teachers, students and parents” and that the affected students were “at school and doing well.”
School principal Vera Hirsh told a local publication that the teacher turned off the film when he realized what was being shown
Hirsh also denied that the students saw any of the violence, adding, “Most of the film’s grisly murder scenes occur later in the film.”
Diaz said she felt “let down” by the school after she met with the principal and expressed her concerns
While she admitted that the students chose the film, she argued that the teacher should be the one who evaluates the content and deems it appropriate
Charter schools are nonprofit organizations contracted to provide the same educational services as public district schools.
However, they operate independently of many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.
“At AIE, learning focuses on the active exploration of important concepts, ideas and theories through hands-on learning and solving real-world problems,” says the school’s vision statement.
“Students will be challenged to utilize scientific knowledge and critical thinking skills while taking responsibility for their personal academic exploration and development.”
The Academy of Innovative Education first opened its doors in 2011, starting as a K-3 school and adding more grades each year.
Last year it reached K-12 grades and graduated its first high school.
The curriculum has a tailored focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM.
AIE claims that both the elementary and middle/high schools received an “A” grade from the Florida Department of Education. However, since the DOE has not yet released data from last year, this statement cannot be confirmed.
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