Gay bar school trip sparks fury as teachers accused of ‘grooming the kids’

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A teacher in Florida caused a Twitter storm filled with criticism after she brought a class in elementary school on a field trip to a gay bar.

Yesterday, Sarah Leonardi, a teacher and Broward County School board member uploaded a series of pictures taken from her field trip to her Twitter account, which saw a group of dozens of children enjoying a day out, drawing and eating at an LGBTQ+ friendly venue.

Sarah, who works as a high school teacher, was chaperoning an elementary school from the city of Wilton Manors, as they were having lunch at “Rosie’s Bar and Grill” restaurant.

The teacher captioned her tweet: “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!”

Unfortunately, Sarah’s post – which showed children wearing masks – was met with a lot of backlash online, with many deeming the trip inappropriate.

People also commented on the kids wearing a face covering, a practice which has been frowned upon for many Floridians who follow Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order, which has barred local governments and schools from imposing a mask rule since May.

“Wow…masks and a gay bar… so educational. And you wonder why parents are increasingly enraged by the actions of the School Boards?” a person commented on the teacher’s post.

Other users made serious accusations, as one woman wrote: “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.”

Offended people on social media were quick to dig the venue’s menu up, which includes burgers named after racy terms, such as the “Miley Highclub” or the “Turkey Lurkey”.

Even though the school’s principal did not respond to questions about the issue, the school district did rapidly issue a statement assuring that the pupils did not see the bar and grill’s menu.

They were reportedly handed “a student-friendly paper menu that has three child-friendly choices,” instead.

Nevertheless, Sarah’s Twitter account was not the only place people used to attack the teacher.

She told local news that since uploading photos from the field trip on social media, her family and friends “have been attacked with bigoted comments and death threats.”

Sarah stressed that these attacks had “no place in our society” and that she had reported the threats to “appropriate authorities”.

Additionally, the educator defended her decision to participate in the highly-debated field trip and told the Miami Herald: “As a School Board member, I am committed to staying engaged with my community.

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“I’m always proud to join classes for field trips and events, especially when our schools are connected with the vibrant small businesses in my district.”

She revealed that she would continue to “work hard to engage” with her community, and “spread positivity” as well as representing her district on the school board.

John Zieba, one of the owners of Rosie’s Bar and Grill said that he had also received threats, with more than 200 adverse comments.

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He reportedly explained that he did not understand “what all the fuss was about” as children from the school “have been coming to the restaurant for field trips for about 10 years”.

He said: “It’s a great experience for the kids to come in and learn how restaurants operate.”

John also mentioned that despite Rosie’s majority clientèle being LGBTQ+ members, staff welcomed “Everybody. Every race, color, creed or ethnicity.”

Broward Public County Public Schools explained in a statement that children learnt 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.”

The statement also read: “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.”

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