News (USA)

Moms for Liberty school board member arrested for shoplifting from Target

Keri Blair
Keri Blair Photo: Screenshot / WATN

A Moms for Liberty-backed school board member in Tennessee resigned this week after she was arrested for shoplifting—from her local Target, of all places.

According to multiple local news outlets, 43-year-old Keri Blair was a little over a year into her first term on the Collierville School Board after being elected in November 2022 when she abruptly resigned on Tuesday, citing “personal, family reasons.”

Blair was arrested on January 5 and charged with seven counts of theft of property. Local ABC affiliate WATN reports that she was caught on security camera “skip scanning” items at the self-checkout at her local Target store in Collierville, Tennessee, on seven separate dates between November 25 and December 20. According to the Los Angeles Blade, the stolen items ranged in price from $63.38 to $140.49 and totaled $728.61.

Collierville police launched an investigation on December 27, leading to Blair’s arrest last week. She was released on $75,000 bond. Target reportedly intends to push for prosecution of the thefts.

Notably, anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives have called for boycotts of the retailer over its Pride merchandise and LGBTQ+-themed holiday items.  

In a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Collierville Schools said that school board chairman Wright Cox received notice of Blair’s resignation on Tuesday.

“Chairman Cox wishes to express his thanks for Ms. Blair’s service to the community and her commitment to public education in Collierville,” the statement read.

While school board races in Shelby County, Tennessee, where Collierville is located, are nonpartisan, Blair reportedly ran on a conservative agenda highlighting “parent choice” and criticizing what she characterized as “social agendas” in public education, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Blair’s campaign was largely self-financed, but she received contributions from Patricia Woodard, the treasurer of the Shelby County chapter of anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty.

After rapidly growing in prominence over the last couple of years, the right-wing organization that falsely characterizes LGBTQ+ inclusion in education as “grooming” and “sexualization” has faced multiple scandals in recent months. In November, it was revealed that the group’s Philadelphia chapter had hired convicted sex offender Phillip Fisher Jr. to handle its religious outreach. In 2011, Fisher was indicted on 12 counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor between the ages of 13 and 17.

Then, early last month, one of the group’s co-founders, Bridget Ziegler, was quietly removed from her position as the director of the School Board Leadership Program at the Leadership Institute after her husband, former Florida Republican Party chair Christian Ziegler, was accused of sexual assault by a woman with whom both the Zieglers had been sexually involved. The Sarasota School Board, on which Bridget Ziegler serves, also voted unanimously for her to resign.

The scandals follow notable losses for the group in school board races across the country this past November.

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