Shawn McBreairty addresses the RSU 22 board of directors during a meeting Nov. 17, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Hampden-based Regional School Unit 22 will pay a settlement to a conservative activist that it unsuccessfully tried to ban from attending school board meetings.

The school district will pay an undisclosed sum to settle a federal lawsuit that Shawn McBreairty, 51, of Hampden had filed against it, according to school board chair Heath Miller and assistant superintendent Christine Boone.

Neither Miller nor Boone would provide further details, but McBreairty is expected to receive $40,000, according to the Portland Press Herald, which first reported on the settlement.

RSU 22 superintendent Nicholas Raymond declined to give further details.

McBreairty’s attorney, Marc Randazza of Gloucester, Massachusetts, declined to comment.

McBreairty filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Maine after RSU 22 banned him in May from attending school board meetings through the end of the year.

The school district alleged that McBreairty violated a number of board policies by playing a recording of him saying “hardcore anal sex” while giving public comment during a school board meeting after being told to stop.

McBreairty, who volunteers with the Maine First Project, claimed the prohibition on him attending meetings was a violation of his First Amendment rights, and that Miller, the board chair, created a “culture of fear” that discouraged dissent.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen ruled in July that RSU 22’s ban on McBreairty was unconstitutional and granted him a temporary restraining order allowing him to attend board meetings again.

RSU 22 serves students from Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh and Frankfort.

The Hermon School Department sued McBreairty the same month that RSU 22 banned him from meetings, arguing that he made it a “personal mission” to bully one of its former teachers and made it impossible for the department to enforce its policy against protecting staff from harassment.

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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.