ARUNDEL – An Arundel resident has begun the process of  securing petitions to recall Regional School Unit 21 School Board Director Ryan McQueen in connection with posts he is accused of making on Twitter and other social media platforms.

“Free speech is not freedom of consequences,” said Sarah Cote, who filed the required ‘notice of intention of recall’ on Wednesday. “You’re allowed to say whatever you want on social media, but you have to understand if you hold a position of power, there are consequences.”

Screenshots of the Twitter posts recently began circulating among parents and complaints were made to the RSU 21 school board, which held an executive session Monday March 20. The next afternoon, the school board and Superintendent Dr. Terri Cooper, while not specifically naming the school board director, issued a statement:

“We are aware of disturbing and offensive posts made online by a sitting school board director,” the statement notes, in part. “The posts on Twitter were hateful toward transgender people, people of color, and women. Individual board members do not speak for the board or the RSU 21 school district.”

“We stand for inclusion and fostering a healthy learning environment for our students and a safe working environment for all of our employees,” the statement continued. “We will not allow members of our community to be targeted by or subjected to bigotry. Over the past three school years, we have been engaged in significant work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we are proud that our efforts will continue and expand moving forward.”

One of the posts, among a number of them sent to the Kennebunk Post, was a meme which stated, “People are similar to sharks because all the great ones are white.”


A February post said, “Off to the school board meeting. Wish me luck.” Some of the posts were retweets of memes posted by other people. There are references to the LGBTQ community, and others.

McQueen’s Twitter account settings were apparently changed sometime on Tuesday. One must now be an approved follower to access the content.

McQueen was elected unopposed by 292 Arundel voters to fill a partial RSU 21 school board director term in June. The term expires in 2024.

Three attempts to reach McQueen by email and through social media were unsuccessful.

RSU 21 School Board chair Erin Nadeau on Tuesday, March 21, said the board at that time had not discussed any possible next steps or actions.

She said in issuing the statement, the board wanted it make clear that it does not condone the online postings that were brought to their attention.


“We are committed to supporting our staff and our students,” said Nadeau. “I imagine there will be continued conversation about this. It was important to the board to share this statement right out front.”

As to the recall process,  Arundel Town Clerk Rachel Bull said the town has three business days to produce petitions for circulation and that Cote then has 14 days to collect 231 signatures of registered Arundel voters – 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. The petitions are examined by the town clerk, are certified if enough have been submitted, and a recall vote scheduled.

Arundel voters approved 13 amendments to the town charter in November; adding school board directors to the section on recall was among them.

Cote, a parent of an Arundel student, has lived in the community for 13 years. She said as a school board member, McQueen is a role model for the community and for students, “voted in as someone being entrusted with making decisions for the community.”

Sarah Lynn, who brought the matter to the school board, said she was shown the screenshots  of the postings by a friend. She is the mother of a student in the district.

“I was appalled that he’s been posting and retweeting these hateful, discriminatory things for a while now,” said Lynn, who said she believes the only solution is for McQueen to resign.


“I’m concerned about what he is going to try to accomplish as a member of the policy committee,” said Jane Anderson, a parent of a student in the district. “And I’m concerned about the messages he is pushing out,” and what might result.

The statement by the school board and superintendent continued:

“In addition to creating a 50-person ad hoc Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee, other initiatives have included providing professional development for staff, and carefully assessing our curriculum and policies to align with state standards and Maine law,” the statement reads.” We also are ensuring that students who are in clubs and activities are engaged, active participants in these efforts.

“Our board policies make clear that we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any legally protected characteristics, such as age, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability or any other protected status. We are fully committed to providing a welcoming, safe, and supportive learning and work environment for all students and staff. We are proud of our firm stance on these issues and are committed to following our current course because it is the right one for students and staff. Bigotry and hatred have no place in our school community.”

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