Shawn McBreairty of Cumberland shows Fox News’ Tucker Carlson a sign urging the SAD 51 superintendent’s ouster during a 2021 appearance on the network. Still image from Fox News video

A conservative activist who was a vocal critic of transgender and racially inclusive policies at school districts across the state died by suicide Monday, the state medical examiner’s office confirmed.

Shawn McBreairty, a 53-year-old father of two who lived in Hampden, had been engaged in ongoing legal battles with multiple school districts, and his criticisms of the public education system attracted the attention of national right-wing media, including former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

News of McBreairty’s death began to circulate on social media Tuesday. More than 100 people offered condolences to his wife and twin daughters on Facebook.

Police would neither confirm nor deny any death investigation at McBreairty’s residence in Hampden, and attorneys who worked with him also would not confirm his death when contacted Tuesday. Others who knew McBreairty through political connections said they had heard the same reports but had no direct knowledge.

A spokesperson for medical examiner’s officer, however, finally confirmed in an email Thursday morning that local law enforcement reported McBreairty’s death and the manner was determined to be suicide.

McBreairty made a name for himself beginning in 2021, when he complained to Carlson – who was then a top-rated host on Fox News – that School Administrative District 51 in Cumberland and North Yarmouth was trying to keep him from attending his twin daughters’ high school graduation.


In the months leading up to that appearance on Carlson’s show, McBreairty tangled with school district officials over how the schools were teaching racial equity. That escalated to the district seeking a criminal trespass order.

McBreairty eventually moved to Hampden after his daughters’ graduation and soon began attending local school board meetings there, even though he didn’t have any children in the district.

That school district tried to ban him from participating in school functions or entering school grounds because he failed to follow meeting procedures and decorum. He responded by filing a lawsuit.

McBreairty also has filed lawsuits against school officials in Brewer and in Hermon, alleging that they violated his First Amendment rights.

Last fall, McBreairty drew attention to a transgender cross country runner who had performed well at a high school state meet.

On social media accounts, McBreairty referred to himself as “America’s Most Dangerous Dad.”


McBreairty was active at the 2022 Maine Republican Party convention, when he introduced an amendment to the party’s platform that sought to ban public school teachers from teaching so-called “critical race theory.”

“It’s time for accountability. Morals and family values have been stripped away from schools and been replaced by identity politics and kiddie porn,” he said.

Late last year, McBreairty was among a handful of right-wing media personalities who shared personal information about Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows shortly before she was the victim of a “swatting” incident in which police responded to false report of a violent incident at her home.

Threats to Bellows came after she made the decision to bar former President Donald Trump from the presidential primary ballot because of his role in the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. Bellows withdrew her decision after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot declare Trump ineligible to run for president.

Fox News, the Daily Caller and the New York Post are among the conservative media outlets that have elevated McBreairty’s rhetoric in recent years, as well as the local Maine Wire, a division of the Maine Policy Institute.

McBreairty’s many lawsuits have been taken on by right-wing legal groups, including the Center for American Liberty and Massachusetts-based attorney Marc Randazza, who has represented conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of the website InfoWars, among others.

In response to an email asking him to confirm McBreairty’s death, Randazza instead criticized the Press Herald and its journalists in vulgar terms.

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