KENNEBUNK, Maine — RSU 21 school board member Ryan McQueen has resigned after allegedly sharing offensive comments on social media.
McQueen resigned on Wednesday and had recently come under fire after community members said they discovered racist, homophobic, and sexist posts on several of his social media accounts.
"The posts and memes that were shared on social media can be harmful by normalizing hate speech and bullying, which we do not tolerate in our schools," RSU 21 Superintendent Terri Cooper said in a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine, not naming McQueen. "Our students and parents should know that we stand by them and support them."
Once district parents and community members discovered the posts, Arundel resident Sarah Cote took initial steps to begin the process of a recall vote to remove McQueen from the school board.
Cote pursued a recall to protect her daughter, she said.
"I wanted her to feel safe and included," Cote told NEWS CENTER Maine. "I don’t know who she’s going to grow up to be. I was shocked that [McQueen] was a school board member posting that in a public forum.”
"When the Board was made aware of the online posts, our immediate reaction was that they were hateful and bigoted messages that targeted individuals and communities that are often marginalized, which is the antithesis of the messaging we want students, community members, and district staff to receive," RSU 21 School Board Chair Erin Nadeau said in a statement. "Our response to the community was to state unequivocally that the Board and District do not condone the types of posts that were shared online."
The town of Arundel is in the process of finding someone to serve the rest of McQueen's term, according to Nadeau. The town has 30 days to appoint a replacement.
RSU 21 covers the towns of Arundel, Kennebunk, and Kennebunkport.
McQueen did not respond to multiple requests for comment.