A parent and former police officer in Guilford, William Maisano, just got arrested for allegedly making a threat to a Guilford Public Schools official over a teacher’s anticipated display of LGBTQ pride at high school graduation.
The parent had heard that a teacher, Regina Sullivan, was planning to dye her hair with a “rainbow Pride” stripe especially for graduation.
Sullivan is the president of the local GEA teachers union, which is part of Connecticut Education Association (CEA). She is also the advisor to the school's Gender Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Club.
Maisano was upset about Sullivan's alleged plan to "hijack graduation" in order to make her own personal political statement when he felt the day should be about the graduating seniors.
In an email to Guilford High School Principal Julia Chaffe, Maisano said, “I am told that Regina Sullivan has seen fit to dye her hair in Pride colors for graduation. I didn’t say a word last year. I’m telling you right now, if I see her dragging her personal politics and sexual preferences into this event there is going to be hell to pay. As a teacher, by law, she will be crossing the line, and so will the school by not shutting this down.”
As soon as Chaffe received the email, she contacted police.
Sullivan told Guilford police that she had “prior run-ins” with Maisano, who has filed Freedom of Information Act Requests in order to obtain more information about the GSA club’s fundraising activities. In one of the uncovered emails from June 2022, CEA President Kate Dias, who uses she/her/hers pronouns in her email signature, wrote ironically about Maisano, saying “oh man - his agenda is pretty transparent. So what does he really want - just to disrupt DEI work?”
Meanwhile, Guilford Police Sgt. Martina Jakober advised Maisano to clarify the intention behind his email in light of rising tensions over threats made to public officials.
Maisano told police that he never intended his email to be a threat of violence, but he feels incredibly frustrated by the increasingly political agenda being promoted in Guilford Schools. He immediately obliged with the sergeant’s suggestion, and emailed a clarification to the school.
“My phrasing was meant as a statement that if she were allowed to make graduation about herself, then I would respond. Not with violence but with media exposure. A faculty member is being allowed to hijack what should be a day just for students. The fact that Regina can’t put aside her politics and sexual preferences for an afternoon should be concerning. No other teacher would behave this way. That was my only point and I am disappointed that you couldn’t recognize that. Unless one of my kids is graduating I don’t even go. For the record, the only violence in Guilford has been committed against people like me and my family. But I think you knew that.”
Maisano was released on a promise to appear and is scheduled to be arraigned at state Superior Court in New Haven on July 19.
Sullivan ended up dying her hair as planned.