A mask-wearing man speaks at a podium
Shawn McBreairty addresses the RSU 22 board of directors during a meeting Nov. 17, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Regional School Unit 22 in Hampden banned an activist from its property and any school function through the end of the year after he played an obscene recording at a school board meeting and refused to stop when asked.

The district banned Shawn McBreairty, 51, from attending any school functions, both in person and remotely, and from stepping foot on school grounds for meeting purposes until Dec. 31 after he was removed from a school board meeting last month.

RSU 22 serves Winterport, Hampden, Newburgh and Frankfort.

“RSU 22 is taking this action due to Mr. McBreairty’s blatant and repeated failure to comply with reasonable RSU 22 policies regarding meeting attendance,” RSU 22 lawyer Timothy Pease said in a May 4 letter to Bruce Merrill, McBreairty’s attorney.

McBreairty played an audio recording of a phone conversation that contained obscene language when he spoke at the April 27 school board meeting, according to Pease and a recording of the meeting.

McBreairty said “hardcore anal sex” twice in the recording. Using abusive, obscene or vulgar language during public comment violates school board rules concerning public participation. A handful of children were in the audience when McBreairty played his recording, according to a tweet and photos from a meeting attendee.

School board chair Heath Miller repeatedly told McBreairty he was violating board rules and asked him to stop playing the recording. He ordered McBreairty to leave when he wouldn’t do so. Miller then recessed the meeting until McBreairty left. McBreairty continued to play the recording at a loud volume so other attendees could hear it as he left the meeting, Pease said.

Merrill did not respond to a request for comment on McBreairty’s behalf.

The prohibition was not based on any of McBreairty’s viewpoints, but instead, his use of “truly obscene speech and willful violation of school board policies over an extended period of time,” Pease said.

McBreairty, a volunteer with the conservative activist organization Maine First Project, has repeatedly said that district teachers teach “critical race theory,” a common national refrain from conservatives. He pointed to a reading list a district teacher had compiled that highlighted books by LGBTQ authors and authors of color as evidence.

McBreairty also wrote an amendment to the Maine Republican Party platform that would institute a code of ethics for public school teachers to deter them from teaching “identity politics and kiddie porn” and provide accountability for “cult-like, government-run K-12 schools,” the Portland Press Herald reported.  

RSU 22 isn’t the first district that has banned McBreairty from its premises.

School Administrative District 51 in Cumberland banned McBreairty last year because of a criminal trespass order after he repeatedly violated district rules and was warned multiple times against padlocking a sign to a school fence, Superintendent Jeff Porter told the Portland Press Herald.

McBreairty also pleaded guilty last fall to improperly influencing a public official, a class D crime, after he threatened to release an audio recording of SAD 51 school board chair Tyler McGinley’s deceased father if she didn’t resign.

McBreairty does not have any children currently attending RSU 22 schools.

He is a 1989 graduate of Hampden Academy, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.