A Florida school board member is under fire after tweeting that she was “SO honored” to be invited to chaperone a school field trip to a gay bar with a raunchy menu on Wednesday.
The woman, Sarah Leonardi, is an official for the Broward County School Board in Florida.
Leonardi accompanied Wilton Manors Elementary School children to Rosie’s Bar & Grill in Wilton Manors, Florida. The elementary school has been participating in this field trip for a decade now, according to the Miami Herald.
“I was SO honored to be invited to chaperone @WiltonManorsES’s field trip to the incredible Rosie’s! The students and I had a fun walk over and learned a lot about our community! A huge thank you to @RosiesBnG for hosting this special field trip every year!” The school board member wrote on Twitter.
I was SO honored to be invited to chaperone @WiltonManorsES’s field trip to the incredible Rosie’s! The students and I had a fun walk over and learned a lot about our community! A huge thank you to @RosiesBnG for hosting this special field trip every year! pic.twitter.com/A3rpMbyUJP
— School Board Member Sarah Leonardi (@bcpsleonardi) October 27, 2021
The photos that Leonardi tweeted showed the children posing outside the restaurant, sitting down inside, and coloring, but what upset many was the less-than-appropriate menu riddled with sexual puns that the bar is known for, including specials like a chicken sandwich called, “The Left One: ‘Cause sometimes the left ones are bigger.”
The elementary school children, however, were supplied with a more age-appropriate menu according to a Facebook post from a community member. The menu featured sliders, grilled cheese, and chicken fingers, aptly labeled without any funny business.
Twitter users were not shy in their criticisms of Leonardi and the school’s field trip choice.
“[W]hen is appropriate to take kids to a bar and grill. Seriously kids in a bar as a fieldtrip. Perhaps more traditional field trips would be educational and not absurd,” one user wrote.
“I’m gay and think elementary school students going on a field trip to a gay bar is ridiculous. WTF,” another chimed in.
“Elementary school students going on field trip to any bar is ridiculous. Remember when field trips were to museums, historic villages, libraries, farms? When the hell did bars get added to this list?” A woman pointed out.
— BCPS CanDoBetter (@BCPSCanDoBetter) October 28, 2021
The hell are kids learning at a bar? Isn’t the point of field trips to be educational?
— Jessica (@jlc7212007) October 28, 2021
1/2 what the hell are these people, parents, school board,teachers thinking. allowing CHILDREN to have a field trip to a BAR. be it open for business (normal hours) or closed. anyone that approved this needs to be suspended or terminated. forget the fact what kind of bar it is,
— Lorcan81 (@Lorcan081) October 28, 2021
Why is there a field trip to a bar? Get it together. Inappropriate.
— Melissa Holland (@_melissaholland) October 28, 2021
Yeah, I’m gay and I live in Miami. I go to Wilton Manors often. Just a few weeks ago I went to see Detox at Hamburger Mary’s. While growing up my mom had gay friends and I’ve been seeing drag shows since I was a kid but I don’t think these kinds of field trips are appropriate.
— Miabanana85 (@miabanana85) October 28, 2021
Who approved a field trip to a bar for elementary school kids? This sounds like they are grooming your kids. What parents would allow this, I know I wouldn’t.
— Gloria Wright (@gloriaw67) October 28, 2021
A bar!??? Why are the kids going to a bar? Zoo closed? Museum closed? Anything other then a bar closed?
— Ken (@jc_rx7) October 28, 2021
The online response to the field trip was overwhelmingly negative, but some tried to justify the trip:
“People on Twitter clearly have no idea Wilton Manors is the second gayest town in the country after Provincetown. Of all the culture war stuff going on, this is extremely mild,” one user tweeted.
Leonardi claims that since posting about the trip, she and her family “have been attacked with bigoted comments and death threats,” the Miami Herald reported.
“These attacks have no place in our society. The threats have been referred to the appropriate authorities, and I will continue to work hard to engage with my community, spread positivity, and represent my district on the School Board,” the school board official maintained.
One of the owners of Rosie’s told the Herald that he did not understand the backlash.
“It’s a great experience for the kids to come in and learn how restaurants operate,” owner John Zieba said, “Everything’s just been blown way out of proportion for ridiculous purposes.”
“[Students] learn about the types of jobs involved in operating a restaurant, how to pay for their meal, and how to leave a tip for the service they receive. In addition, as part of the field trip, the Wilton Manors Police Department provides traffic assistance for the students so they can see and learn about the different ways police officers support the community,” Broward Public County Public Schools said in a statement to the Herald.
It is unclear whether or not parents signed a permission slip allowing their children to attend the field trip.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary also weighed in:
Broward School Board member takes little kids to a gay bar on a field trip, forcing them to wear masks “to keep them safe.” https://t.co/mhGAt6WY7h
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) October 28, 2021
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