May 6, 2024 - Education

Ziegler says Sarasota schools should reject new Title IX LGBTQ+ protections

Illustration of the shadow of Florida on a pattern of Roman numeral IXes.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Embattled Sarasota School Board member Bridget Ziegler plans to urge colleagues to challenge Title IX LGBTQ+ protections at Tuesday night's meeting.

Why it matters: Ziegler — the co-founder of Moms for Liberty and wife of former Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler — is calling on the district to back Gov. Ron DeSantis' assertion that Florida's schools "will not comply" with the pending federal revisions.

  • Rejecting the guidelines, which take effect on Aug. 1 and add protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, could threaten the millions of dollars Florida's schools receive annually.

Between the lines: If Ziegler's resolution succeeds, it would signal renewed momentum for DeSantis administration-backed policies resisting LGBTQ+ representation, which stalled at the Legislature this year amid his failed presidential campaign.

  • It would also reassert the power Ziegler had when DeSantis endorsed her run for school board last fall before a scandal marred her standing as a rising GOP star.

Catch up quick: The three other school board members voted for Ziegler to step down in December after her husband was accused of sexual battery by a woman who said she'd had a sexual relationship with both Zieglers.

What they're saying: In a recent memo to district superintendents, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Díaz Jr. said schools should not make changes in response to the new Title IX revisions.

  • Díaz claimed the updates "violate various federal and state laws," including the state's Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics.

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