Florida Teacher Fired for Discussing Sexual Orientation Sparks Debate

A Florida teacher said she was fired because she spoke to her students about her sexuality.

The Cape Coral art teacher, Casey Scott, was employed at Trafalgar Middle School and said that she and her students were discussing sexuality and she told them she was pansexual.

Scott also said children asked to draw pictures illustrating their sexuality, but after putting them up on display she was asked to remove them by the school staff before she was fired.

Her termination has sparked a debate on social media about free speech as well as the state's attitude to discussions around sexuality.

This comes after Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill into law in March.

The bill prevents topics including sexual orientation and gender identity from being taught to the state's youngest students and resulted in significant backlash from the LGBTQ+ community.

The bill's entire seven pages essentially establish into law the idea that "classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."

Advocates in the community have argued it will be used to silence LGBTQ+ people, while supporters of the legislation say young children shouldn't be taught about sexuality while in school.

"A discussion happened in class and because of that now I'm fired," Scott said, while speaking to NBC2 News.

"A lot of the kids came up to me and said I'm non-binary and a couple kids said I'm bi and one kid said they were gay."

Scott added that some of the students wondered about her and asked her sexual orientation.

"I am pansexual, I like anyone despite female, male," Scott told NBC2 News.

She went on to say that some of the students asked to create art expressing their sexuality. After they did this she hung the pictures on her classroom door.

She added that the school told her "it would be in [her] best interest if she got rid of these [pictures] now." Scott did so and also took pictures after she had scrunched up the pieces of paper and thrown them in the bin.

After being sent home she got a call saying that the school was releasing her from her contract.

NBC2 News said that the Lee County School District showed them complaints from parents and students over the activity. The Teachers Union of Lee County president, Kevin Daly, also explained that Scott could legally be fired and confirmed she didn't belong to the teachers' union.

He added that "During that probationary period they can let you go without cause."

On Twitter, some people praised the school for their actions to fire Scott while others condemned the school.

"Florida middle school teacher blames 'Don't Say Gay' bill for being fired after she told students she is pansexual and got them to draw gay pride flag," Former Florida GOP Congressional Candidate, Vic DeGrammont tweeted.

She can't say she wasn't warned. Florida is serious about protecting the sexual innocence of students," former Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association Bryan Fischer tweeted.

"This pansexual middle school teacher was fired for letting her students draw LGBTQ flags, answering their questions about her," Florida Congress candidate Dr. Cindy Banyai tweeted.

"This is Florida, only one month into Don't Say Gay. Ron DeSantis, Florida GOP are using culture wars to consolidate power. We must stop them."

"So [the school] fired a middle school teacher for telling her class she's pansexual," Florida high school activist Jack Petocz tweeted.

"This is the reality of queer people in Florida. Stop policing our education and bowing to parental fringe groups. #SayGay.

"Well deserved. Keep playing with our children, and more of this will happen."

Newsweek has contacted Trafalgar Middle School for comment.

A file photo of a group of children. A Florida teacher fired for discussing sexual orientation has sparked debate. Getty Images