Woke Maine School Board Gets Busted for First Amendment Violation
Conservatives learn to fight fire with fire.
The slumbering giant is stirring.
I’m referring to the no-longer-silent majority of Mainers who are beginning to understand that our state is in trouble.
Serious trouble. And it begins in our schools. Government-run K-12 schools.
We’re in trouble because we’ve allowed politicians and bureaucrats to transform these public institutions into indoctrination camps, churning out graduates who are unprepared either for the workplace or for further education. The dumbing down has been so successful that most Maine high-school graduates who apply for admission to local community colleges need to take remedial courses before they’re ready for entry-level college work.
But that’s not the worst of it.
Not only are most of our recent high-school graduates well below minimal expectations in reading, science, and math – they’re woke, and proud of it.
Barely literate in civics and profoundly ignorant of history, these kids are woefully unprepared for the obligations of American citizenship.
After years of K-12 indoctrination in the radical Left’s malignant narrative of America as a systemically racist nation, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s no exaggeration to say that many of these kids are better prepared for a lifetime of picketing and protests than for responsible citizenship – much less any acknowledgement or appreciation of American exceptionalism.
The good news – the silver lining, you might say – is that the Left’s aggressive overreach and brazen irrationality have roused many Mainers from their slumber.
I think the tipping point may have been the revelation that kindergartners are now in the crosshairs of an unspeakably evil campaign to plant the seeds of gender-bender madness in the next generation of Mainers.
Maine First Project has been on the frontlines of the battle to expose the rotten curricula that are the rule rather than the exception in Maine’s public schools.
Shawn McBreairty, our Director of Special Projects, has done more than anyone I know to shine a bright light into the darkest recesses of the K-12 swamp for the past two years. He is the guy who blew the whistle on the Maine Department of Education’s loathsome online lesson for kindergartners, featuring a woke teacher telling five-year-olds that sometimes the doctor makes a mistake in determining whether a newborn baby is a boy or a girl.
The “LGBTQ+ Activism” video for kindergartners also included grotesque rainbow-colored cartoon characters singing about “queer” and “pansexual” families.
Nevertheless, administrators and school boards have not taken kindly to parents and taxpayers pushing back against this sort of dangerous, demented nonsense.
The school board at Regional School Unit (RSU) 22 in Hampden was so ticked off with McBreairty’s persistence in exposing x-rated pornography in the district’s recommended reading lists and libraries that they served him with a “no trespass” order on May 4th. The notice barred him from school board meetings – and even forbade him to set foot on campus.
McBreairty punched back twice as hard, and scored a first-round knockout.
He not only sued in US District Court for violation of his First Amendment free speech rights, but moved for an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the district — a very high bar for any plaintiff in federal court.
On July 20th, Judge Nancy Torresen granted McBreairty’s motion, and noted that he is likely to prevail on the merits when the case comes to trial.
This is a huge victory, not just for McBreairty, but for every forgotten parent in Maine who’s been bullied and belittled by the Leftist tyrants who dominate the K-12 swamp.
Looking back at the past two years of conflict and controversy swirling around K-12 instruction in Maine, it appears that the tide began to turn against the woke administrators when they bowed to pressure from the teachers’ unions.
The mindless COVID-19 restrictions — including mandatory face diapers in the classroom – were very unpopular with parents. But in retrospect, it was shutting down classroom instruction and moving to so-called “remote learning” that gave parents a window into the indoctrination and brainwashing of their children.
With their kids attending school in the kitchen or living room, many parents got their first sneak peek at the rampant Left-wing bias in Maine’s K-12 government-run schools.
Parents began showing up at school board meetings to speak out against Leftist political indoctrination and Queer Theory propaganda, at which point the know-it-all educrats and their woke allies in the Legislature knew they had to muzzle the opposition.
Teachers’ union boss Grace Leavitt railed against two parents in Bangor who had the audacity to record and share a brief video presentation by a silly 7th grade teacher sharing her various “privileged” and “targeted” identities with students, and then claiming victim status because she’s a woman. The one-minute video clip was shared thousands of times on social media during Labor Day weekend in 2020, triggering shrieks of outrage against the parents from all the usual suspects on the Left. They even launched a boycott campaign against the offending parents’ small retail bakery business.
Next, Leavitt testified in favor of LD 864, “An Act to Protect Teachers’ Privacy While Delivering Remote Instruction,” when it came before the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature in April of last year. The gag order on uppity parents was enacted on a party-line vote, with civil penalties up to $500 for anyone who shares a recorded session of remote instruction without permission from the school.
Make no mistake: claiming a right to privacy for what teachers say in a public-school classroom is delusional. Clearly, Leavitt needs professional help, or she’s off her meds. Perhaps she should just retire.
Whatever she does, this much is clear: enacting a statute to punish parents for sharing what goes on in the classroom is a sign of weakness, not strength.
From local school officials to statewide office holders in the State House swamp, all the way up the food chain to the Biden crime family and the derelict US Attorney General Merrick Garland, the woke zombies are hell-bent on muzzling parents. Even going as far as labeling them “domestic terrorists.”
They went after Shawn McBreairty with a vengeance, trying to bar him from his daughters’ high-school graduation, banning him from school board meetings, and even targeting him with a frivolous lawsuit for allegedly harassing a woke teacher in the Hermon school district.
The Left's objective? Force McBreairty to back down and go away. And perhaps more important to them, make an example of him in an effort to intimidate other parents.
But McBreairty hasn't backed down. In fact, he's doubled down instead.
And now, a federal judge has handed the RSU 22 school district a stunning defeat. Much to their dismay, board members can’t blame “Orange Man Bad.” It was an Obama-appointed judge who slapped down their unconstitutional restraint of McBreairty’s free speech.
McBreairty’s attorney Marc Randazzo summed it up succinctly when he called the school board members “power drunk”:
"Government apparatchiks can’t banish people from public life because they don’t like being challenged," he said in a statement. "Serving in the government means you have to accept criticism. If you can’t do that, you have no business in that position…. I hope that this slap across their totalitarian faces sobers them up and they start behaving like American government officials, not soviets."
Amen to that.
Maine First Project supporters will continue to fight fire with fire, and we will take no prisoners in these culture wars.
And one more thing: we have not yet begun to fight.
Lawrence Lockman of Bradley served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives (2012-2020). He is co-founder and president of the non-profit Maine First Project. He may be reached at email@example.com.