Sean Gay must not be elected to the D128 Board of Education


Andrew Benoit

Sean Gay’s hate-filled rhetoric threatens the safety and community that D128 has created in its schools.

*Note: Three of the final paragraphs of the original version of this opinion piece, which discussed a different candidate, have been removed from the article. Drops of Ink may not have fully contextualized the nature of the article when reaching out to that candidate for comment and may not have stated enough information about the claims made.

Although the election for D128 Board of Education isn’t until April 6, the race has created a number of controversies, mostly centering around racist, transphobic and Covid-19 denying comments from challenger Sean Gay. 

Gay has been railing against D128’s decision to move to remote learning in response to the Covid-19 pandemic since July 2020 on a Facebook group known as “Let’s Talk Libertyville,” where he is a moderator. Around the same time, he began to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine (a medicine used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, which was touted by President Trump as a treatment for Covid-19, although the FDA and National Institutes of Health have firmly stated otherwise) in order to treat coronavirus. Furthermore, Gay consistently denies the dangers of Covid-19, which he calls “the China Virus,” advocating against the use of masks and other safety precautions.

Gay’s disgusting depravity doesn’t stop there, however. His slew of hateful comments is appalling and gives insight into a part of Libertyville that is often ignored. He has stated that the acronym BLM (Black Lives Matter) stands for “Burn Loot and Murder” and has repeatedly used the R-word to attack the state’s Covid-19 policies. 

A large number of his hateful attacks have been focused on the transgender community. He has posted a number of times about “boys entering girls locker rooms” and attacked transgender athletes competing in sports.

According to Nikki Michele, a local advocate for the LGBTQ community, Gay is “trying to forward some kind of alt-right religious belief system that doesn’t have a place in public education.”

Michele added that being made unwelcome in the place you are supposed to learn can have a profoundly negative effect on students. 

“I just can’t imagine having to fight for my existence against the very people who are supposed to be helping me get a better education,” she said

When I reached out to Gay for comment about some of his previous remarks, he declined to talk and only gave a brief statement doubling down on his transphobic and hateful beliefs.

For the past four years, LHS has been my home. I have been given every opportunity to explore my identity and my beliefs. My experience has been marked by a supportive community and a healthy support system. Although I am leaving LHS soon, it would break my heart to see what has been built at D128 schools destroyed. Every student deserves a school that welcomes them, no matter their race, sexuality, gender, religion or identity. Gay represents a threat to D128’s promise of acceptance and community. 

Clearly, Gay is a hateful man who takes every opportunity he has to attack marginalized communities and spew dangerous misinformation about a deadly disease. 

Beyond attacking marginalized communities, it appears that another of Gay’s favorite pastimes is taking pot shots at D128 teachers, who put themselves in potential danger to serve students. Gay has suggested “coming in with a wrecking ball and removing [D128’s] staff structure in July 2021,” and has even gone so far as to suggest a 70% cut in teaching staff. 

These frankly stupid suggestions are nothing compared to the conspiracy theories Gay promotes alleging that D128 teachers and their union are behind a supposed movement to close the district’s schools. Believing that the union holds an undue influence on the school board, Gay has promised to find those supposedly responsible for the diabolical plan to keep children safe and fire them in what can only be described as a McCarthy-esque display of delusion. 

What’s interesting, however, is that many of the asisne comments Gay makes aren’t even feasible. According to Pat Groody, the current president of D128’s Board of Education who is retiring at the end of his term, the district is required by law to provide an equitable environment for all its students.

“Board members don’t have the right to say, ‘I’m not going to do what the law says I have to,’” Groody said.

In any case, Gay’s comments speak for themselves. They portray a racist, transphobic and sad man, out of touch with reality. He has no place in the D128 community.

According to Groody, who has served on the school board for 16 years, “this is the most important board election that we’ve had in a very long time. I think the community needs to decide, do they want to elect people that have personal agendas? Or do they want a board that’s going to respect the professional work and guidelines issued by our public health departments and will they work to abide by legislation that’s been passed on a number of these difficult issues?”