A Florida school board member sparked a social media freakout after she posted photos of a grade-school class trip to a bar and grill known as an LGBTQ hangout.
Broward County School Board member Sarah Leonardi posted photos on her social media pages Wednesday showing a Wilton Manors Elementary outing to Rosie’s Bar and Grill, setting off a backlash that saw the governor’s press secretary chime in.
“I was SO honored to be invited to chaperone @WiltonManors’s field trip to the incredible Rosie’s!” Leonardi wrote. “The students and I had a fun walk over and learned a lot about our community!”
While some critics lashed out that a “gay bar” or any bar wasn’t an appropriate place for school-sanctioned trips, others jumped to defend Leonardi and said going to Rosie’s was no different than a family dinner at other bar and grill restaurants, like Applebee’s.
Rosie’s has menu items with names like Naked Sweaty Lovin’ and Ivana Hooker, and listed a special sauce called “Smack My Cheeks and Make ‘Em Rosy,” but a menu posted by a community member to Leonardi’s Facebook showed students were only given family-friendly options of chicken fingers, grilled cheese or burgers.
The school board member’s posts were widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook, with many bashing the locale.
“This is just wrong on so many levels!” one poster wrote. “Then telling the world that you did it!”
Another chimed in, “Not one parent or adult there had a thought that a backdrop of bottles of alcohol for the field trip presentation is inappropriate.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw’s comments followed Broward defying Desantis’ anti-mask mandate order.
“Broward School Board member takes little kids to a gay bar on a field trip, forcing them to wear masks ‘to keep them safe,’” she wrote.
Some shook off the criticisms.
“Just making sure you’ve never brought children to Applebee’s, TGIF Friday’s, Outback, or chili’s,” one Twitter user wrote. “Because me thinks the issue isn’t that there was a bar at the grille.”
Leonardi defended the trip in comments to The Miami Herald, saying she’s received “bigoted comments and death threats” since making the post.
“These attacks have no place in our society,” Leonardi told the Herald. “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.”
Co-owner John Zieba said it was a great learning experience for kids and noted Rosie’s serves everyone.
“Everything’s just been blown way out of proportion for ridiculous purposes,” he said, according to the Herald.