Parents Upset Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey Shown to Fourth Graders

Students at a Florida charter school reportedly voted to watch the film, which features Pooh recontextualized as a masked slasher.

Parents in Florida are upset after a teacher at The Academy for Innovative Education, a charter school in Miami Springs, reportedly showed roughly a third of the horror movie Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey to a group of fourth traders earlier this month. A local CBS affiliate quotes parents as saying their concerns weren't being taken seriously enough, while the school itself declined to make a specific comment about how the situation was addressed with the teacher, saying only that the administration "promptly addressed this issue directly with the teacher." By virtue of being a charter school, the AIE does not answer to the Miami-Dade Public Schools.

According to the CBS story, the students voted to watch the movie, then had second thoughts upon seeing how scary it was. Parents are upset with the teacher, both for allowing the students to choose the movie, and for failing to promptly turn it off after it became clear it was not age-appropriate.

"The Academy for Innovative Education has become aware that a segment of a horror movie was shown to fourth graders, Monday, October 2, 2023, that was not suitable for the age group," Vera Hirsh, head of the school, told CBS Miami in a statement. "Our administration promptly addressed this issue directly with the teacher and has taken appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of students. We are actively monitoring the students and our mental health counselor and principal have already met with those students who have expressed concerns."

"I feel completely abandoned by the school," said Michelle Diaz, one of the parents in question, who spoke with CBS after a meeting with the school's principal.

The complaints come amid a torrent of controversy surrounding books and other educational materials being challenged or removed from Florida public schools as part of an organized campaign by right-wing special interest groups. Ironically, those groups largely leave charter and private schools alone. Their focuses also tend to be on sex and cultural issues, rather than violence.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey was released shortly after Pooh fell into the public domain. Using the iconography of A. A. Milne's original novel, the movie steers clear of either the characters still protected by copyright from later Pooh stories, or elements of the characters still trademarked by Disney, such as Pooh's more modern look or his iconic red t-shirt. 

In Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Money, Pooh and Piglet are reimagined axe-wielding maniacs who terrorize a group of college students in the woods. The film is not rated by the Motion Picture Association, but a look at its synopsis or thumbnail would leave little doubt that it is not a movie intended for younger audiences.