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Bridget Ziegler Briefly Breaks Her Silence on Sex Scandal During School Board Meeting

Sarasota Schools/YouTube
Sarasota Schools/YouTube

Hours after enduring scores of public comments decrying Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler over her refusal to step down amid the hypocrisy exposed by her and her husband’s three-way sex scandal, the Moms for Liberty co-founder was finally given the floor.

“I know it’s been a long evening and I want to thank staff again for hanging in there,” she said with a smile. “I wanted to mention a couple of things that came up in public comment.”

Ziegler has remained silent on the sex scandal since Dec. 12, when her Florida school board voted 4 to 1 (Ziegler was the exception) to ask her to step down from her position, one she has held since 2014. She refused, and has maintained her presence on the board despite widespread public disapproval.

“You know, I am disappointed,” Ziegler said at the time. “As people may know, I serve on another public board and this issue did not come up and we were able to forge ahead with the business of the board,” she added, noting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Disney oversight board.

Since, Ziegler has kept quiet and the case has moved forward.

Her husband, ousted Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler, was cleared of a rape charge last month in connection with allegations from the couple’s ménage à trois partner, but still faces another investigation into alleged “video voyeurism,” which authorities have forwarded to the state attorney’s office.

Florida GOP Chair Who Touted ‘Family Values’ Accused of Raping Woman

Parents and community members have repeatedly criticized Ziegler at school board meetings, calling out her hypocrisy for engaging in bisexual acts while being an outspoken leader of anti-LGBTQ policies.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, as the board opened for public comment, Ziegler made a surprise plea. “I appreciate that for the movement of the board,” she began, “I think it’s really important that as we proceed we ensure proper decorum so we can hear each speaker.”

And despite threats from the board over its expectations of an “orderly and constructive” meeting, it didn’t work.

“We all wish we were doing something else tonight,” the first speaker who took to the podium said. “We know Bridget Ziegler is not going to resign,” they added, before being cut off by the board and reminded of being respectful.

Another speaker had her microphone muted as she took Ziegler to task, threatening to remain standing until the mic was turned back on and she could have her say. “These are public comments. Show some integrity. Be a leader here,” the woman protested. After an uncomfortable standoff, Ziegler intervened and gave her consent for the woman to continue.

It went on, and on, and on–until finally, towards the end of the nearly three-hour meeting, Ziegler had her say.

“I’m going to keep this very tight for many reasons,” she began, adding that “much of the conversations that have come up in public comment I will never address in these chambers, as it has nothing to do with my role as a board member.”

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Ziegler never mentioned the sex scandal directly, though she seemingly referenced it at several points.

“There is a lot of intentional conjecture and taking things out of context,” she said. “I have taken a lot of arrows, I know my colleagues have as well. It is not comfortable.”

She praised the board Chair for “trying to raise the decorum” during public comment and spoke of the “grit” of the leadership in the district, which she claimed is “giving me a lot of optimism where we are rolling in the right direction.”

She added that no matter what the topic, “I will defend” the right of the public to speak.

“I know there is a current hot-button issue, but I know there have been many prior to December and those emotions run high and so it makes it very challenging to navigate that,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler brought up a March 2022 incident when a woman baselessly accused board member Tom Edwards—the board’s only openly gay member—of being a child groomer. Ziegler, who was chairing the meeting at the time, did nothing in response.

“I asked her to shut down the meeting and she refused,” Edwards told The Daily Beast in December 2023. “So the only way I could protect our students and their families in our community from that ugly, homophobic rhetoric was to shut the meeting down myself by walking out.”

Ziegler on Tuesday defended her actions in the March 2022 incident—saying she disagreed with the speaker but decided to remain silent and allow public comment because of her commitment to free speech at public meetings.

“I do believe specific to sexual orientation and what have you, has no place in comments up here. Personal lives, families, all of those. But I also accept the fact that as elected officials we open ourselves up to incredible criticism, but as an individual I absolutely reject that,” she said.

“As we go into policy discussions... there’s a lot of hyperbole and rhetoric out there in the paper or on social media... I don’t want anyone to be fearful, I don’t want anyone in our district to feel that we are providing anything other than a fair, safe and tolerant environment for every single person to learn and that means not just to learn—and work.

“As you can hear, there’s a lot of people who believe that’s not the case.”

Ziegler finished her speech by adding she “probably has more to say” but instead thanked staff and reiterated she welcomed “and always will” the public’s right to speak.

But, she concluded, “I do look forward to our continued progress.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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