By A.G. Gancarski
FloridaPolitics.com
April 4, 2022

“Unacceptable teacher attire + Parent Complaint to School = Shirt is Gone.”
Esther Byrd

A recent appointee to Florida’s Board of Education stoked controversy this week when she made comments applauding a move against a teacher wearing a ‘Protect Trans Kids’ shirt in the classroom.

Esther Byrd of Neptune Beach posted to Facebook in support of a whistleblowing parent who flagged a teacher at St. Johns County’s Tocoi Creek High School who was wearing the shirt.

“Unacceptable teacher attire + Parent Complaint to School = Shirt is Gone,” Byrd wrote, lauding a “mama bear Jen” for complaining about the garment.

“Many times, the district is not aware and needs a heads up,” Byrd added.

Florida Times-Union reporter Emily Bloch, who spotlighted Byrd’s post to Facebook, noted it happened on Thursday, the Transgender Day of Visibility.

The teacher changed into a different shirt, reported the St. Augustine Record.

The Governor’s Office communicated that the shirt was in violation of the St. Johns County School Board dress code, which bars slogans on T-shirts. However, that does not really have much to do with Byrd’s commentary on the shirt on her social media.

Byrd’s post came in the same week of her first meeting as a member of the Board of Education, and reinforces the belief she will be ready to be an active voice against “ideology” in the classroom.

“I’m just a mama and the parent of two children — one’s graduated and one in second grade,” Byrd said Wednesday in Naples. “And we’ve seen the ideology that’s in our education system and it’s not OK. And I look forward to working with this board to make sure that we find those things and we tackle them.”

Byrd is the wife of Rep. Cord Byrd of Neptune Beach.

Rep. Byrd, the incumbent in the current HD 11, is one of the House Republicans who sided with the Governor by voting against redistricting maps preserving a minority-access district in North Florida. Gov. DeSantis is said to be eyeing support of Byrd in a potential Senate run this year.

Mrs. Byrd came to the board with a history of controversial comments, supportive of elements on the right that many see as fringe.

After the Jan. 6 insurrection, Mrs. Byrd offered a defense of those “peacefully protesting” the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election while alluding to “coming civil wars.”

“ANTIFA and BLM can burn and loot buildings and violently attack police and citizens,” Byrd wrote on her Facebook page. “But when Trump supporters peacefully protest, suddenly ‘Law and Order’ is all they can talk about! I can’t even listen to these idiots bellyaching about solving our differences without violence.”

Those comments came after another incendiary post.

“In the coming civil wars (We the People vs the Radical Left and We the People cleaning up the Republican Party), team rosters are being filled,” mused Byrd. “Every elected official in DC will pick one. There are only 2 teams… With Us [or] Against Us.”

In October, Mrs. Byrd offered an unsolicited defense of the Proud Boys, a group of men who bill themselves as “western chauvinists.”

Trump infamously urged them to “stand back and stand by” when pressed to condemn the alt-right movement.

Mrs. Byrd, a staunch supporter of the former President, subsequently claimed many of them and their supporters have been thrown in “FB Jail,” a metaphorical lockdown preventing them from posting to Facebook for some period of time.

“Why do you think Facebook is throwing people in FB Jail who share information about Proud Boys? (Side note: I must really have great friends cause a whole bunch have been locked up! 😂) I think it’s because they’ve seen a drastic spike in searches and they are worried that people are educating themselves rather than blindly believing what MSM narrative. Anyone have a better theory?”

Those statements came months after Byrd made comments supportive of QAnon after the couple was photographed on a boat flying a QAnon flag.

Byrd’s appointment ultimately is subject to Senate confirmation.

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Margo Story
Margo Story
4 months ago

I’m with Esther….go girl!!

Jason Collins
Jason Collins
4 months ago

Leave activism of all kinds out of our public schools! No place for discussions of sexuality and or gender. Leave the brainwashing for the Universities! And anyone who thinks the bill DeSantis signed has anything to do with “Don’t say gay” needs to actually read the bill.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes
4 months ago
Reply to  Jason Collins

I have read that bill, more than once, and there is no doubt it is designed to have a chilling effect on any discussion about any kind of relationship that is not heterosexual monogamous, at all grade levels. Children are much more accepting of differences in people than are adults, which is what fearful and heartless conservatives are afraid of.

Connie Chapman
Connie Chapman
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

It distinctly refers to kindergarten through grade 3. That is not all grade levels. Thankfully my children are grown but if they were in elementary school I would not want the school system and teachers deciding on how to educate or indoctrinate my children on their sexuality or gender orientation. No thanks. That is the job of parents, not the education system.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
4 months ago
Reply to  Jason Collins

Jason – Intimidation by vigilante “parents”, whose knowledge of classroom reality is limited, to say the least, and whose opinions are shaped by a GOP hell bent on destroying knowledge and replacing it with GOP “talking points”, is psyops in action. It’s a process that really involves brainwashing. The Walt Disney Company understands.

Drew Skonberg
Drew Skonberg
4 months ago
Reply to  Jason Collins

I’m with you Jason on leaving activism out of public schools, we don’t pay taxes for this type of influence which is best left to parental discretion. The activism I’ve witnessed is primarily based in Rousseau, Engels, Marxist ideology which is the last thing needed in our capitalistic Republic. Given the flood of people escaping the overstepping mandates, proven not to be of benefit, and the high taxes found in the Democratic controlled states up north, the proof is in the pudding many are opposed to the left narrative.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
4 months ago
Reply to  Drew Skonberg

Teach, then pontificate.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes
4 months ago

Ms. Byrd is yet another hypocrite who lives in a 1950’s Leave It To Beaver fantasy. She is privileged and has no clue about it or the real world about which she comments and, now that she is on a board with authority, can have profound effects on. When will the good rank and file conservatives wake up and see the havoc and misery their elected officials cause on people just trying to survive, just as they are?

Christine Clare
Christine Clare
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Right on! Thank you. C Clare.

John Rasmussen
John Rasmussen
4 months ago

It’s easy. Out with the Byrds. Recall and elect people with common sense and a reasonable amount of education

dennis gooch
dennis gooch
4 months ago
Reply to  John Rasmussen

Need more like Ester Byrd if everyone goes along with this transgender crap American is headed for some times. What kind of people are we becoming letting a 6′ 4″ what ever male student compete in girl swimming. It should just be a big laugh but have you ever heard of Sodam and Gomara well it’s a coming.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
4 months ago
Reply to  dennis gooch

Has to do with the 14th Amendment. Time to read up.

Christine Clare
Christine Clare
4 months ago

Everyday I am more and more embarrassed to be from Florida. Meaness has replaced kindness….and bigotry reigns supreme over acceptance. A reminder…God made us all.

Linda Mac Laughlin
Linda Mac Laughlin
4 months ago

If the Florida law prohibits any “discussion of gender identity” for students in kindergarten to 3rd grade and therefore prohibits a discussion about a child who has same sex parents should it not also prohibit a discussion about different sex parents?. Since marriage is in large part for procreation (as God intended) we shouldn’t really discuss the fact that people are married with our youngsters since it is just one step removed from not just gender identity but actual sexual activity. The general belief that a child might become gay or transgender because of what their 1st grade teacher said rather than biology, and the accumulation of thousands of life experiences is very naïve.

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