Student Response to the Former School Board Member’s Tweets


On March 14th, 2023, a series of racist and hateful tweets were sent out by a member of the RSU 21 Board of Directors, directed at various groups of people including racial minorities and members of the LGBT community. The tweets were a series of memes that you could probably find on your average right-wing meme page, (outside of the extremely racist shark meme). However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise due to this school board member’s background as an active, far-right wing voice in our community. 


For context, the former board member was elected by the people of Arundel as a school board member in June and ran unopposed. He was a very vocal member of the community and prior to his election, he often critiqued the school board for their handling of issues related to COVID-19 policies. He protested outside of the Middle School of the Kennebunks in February of 2022 regarding mask policies. In addition, he was also a member of the group that attended the school board meeting regarding parent response to COVID policy within the district. 


The series of tweets included one meme in particular that really struck me as outrageous and disgusting to have been posted by a member of the school board, or any human being in general. The meme was a picture of a great white shark, which included the caption, “people are like sharks because all the great ones are white.” When I first read that, I was in utter disbelief that someone actually found that funny; so much so that he decided to share that on his public Twitter account. Additionally, this isn’t an issue of left vs. right because everyone I personally spoke to about the incident was disgusted with the tweet, no matter what side of the political aisle they fell on. Also, it is pretty disturbing that he has not issued any sort of apology for sending the tweet.


The board member resigned last Wednesday with a letter accepted first by the town of Arundel, and later by Dr. Cooper. His letter wrote, “I [board member’s name that we are choosing not to publish]  resign from the RSU 21 school board effective immediately. I did not volunteer for this position to be attacked and slandered.” It is a pretty ironic statement, being that he was constantly attacking and slandering the school board for their decisions earlier last year.


So, where do we go from here? I believe that the biggest lesson that the community can learn from this is that civic engagement is extremely important for a small town, like Kennebunk, to be able to successfully run itself. If the three towns continue to have unopposed elections with only one candidate for a seat on the board, these situations are very possible to continue. I’m not saying that people with views similar to his -non-discriminatory of course- shouldn’t be allowed to be on the school board, but it should be more competitive for some of these seats to get the best possible candidate for the job. People within the community should try to be more active in their search for public office to try and avoid another situation like this, where someone is trying to push their extreme political beliefs rather than the greater good of the RSU 21 school system and three towns community. My final thought on this issue would be that in a community like Kennebunk, where there has been a fair share of racist incidents in the past, most of the adults in this community who are always outraged about these types of incidents, never end up doing anything. A lot of the people who are always vilifying Kennebunk High School and the handling of these incidents, never end up trying to fix these problems by running for office, but instead just attack people from the distance of their Facebook account. Until this problem is fixed, I don’t think anything will change, because people are more interested in arguing with each other about meaningless drama, rather than trying to solve the issues within our towns.