SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — In front of a packed school board room and dozens of cameras, Sarasota County’s five-member school board voted 4-1 Tuesday night to seek Bridget Ziegler’s resignation.
Ziegler was the sole member to vote against the resolution, which represents the board’s only group response to the highly publicized scandal that exposed Ziegler’s consensual sexual encounter with her husband and another woman.
In remarks following the vote, board members, both Republican and Democrat, called her ongoing presence a distraction to their overall mission.
“It should be only about the kids. My decision tonight was only about the kids,” said Tim Enos, vice chair and a conservative ally.
“For me, as the chair, it’s not about left or right. It’s about the students,” said board chair Karen Rose, who is also a conservative political ally. Rose had the resolution added to the board’s agenda.
Prior to the vote, members of the public rallied outside, calling on Ziegler to resign and calling out her hypocrisy as an elected official whose public platforms have focused on protecting parental rights and conservative family values. Ziegler is credited for helping to lay the groundwork for the law, which critics would dub Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Inside, those pleas for her resignation continued, with more than 70 members of the public telling her to go while a handful of supporters asked her to stay.
In the end, Ziegler didn’t budge, didn’t resign and didn’t say much.
“I’m disappointed,” Ziegler said. “As people know, I serve on another board, and this didn’t come up, and we were able to get to the issues that matter,” she said, referring to the state-controlled Disney World tourism board, which she was appointed to by Governor DeSantis.
At one point, Ziegler asked a question that perhaps said everything she wanted the public to know about her future on the school board.
“This does not have any teeth, correct?” she asked.
She’s right. Despite the board’s vote, it will be up to Ziegler to decide if she is going to stay or go. The governor is the only person who has the authority to remove a school board member from office.