A member of the school board in Gurnee, IL, a suburb just outside of Chicago, has come under fire for making homophobic remarks during a meeting, CBS Chicago reports.
While discussing qualities the school board would like to see in a new superintendent during a meeting last week, board member Liz Biondi (pictured) took to the floor to say they should not, under any circumstances, hire a gay person.
“I have very good friends who are gay or lesbian,” Biondi said, “and I’m concerned that if we hired someone that we were not aware of that background, that they may be fighting more personal fires than superintendent fires.”
How does having “very good friends” who happen to be gay have anything to do with anything?
Biondi went on to add that she “respects” gay people and that she, personally, would have “no problem” with a gay superintendent, but she fears “the community would.”
Under the 2006 Illinois Human Rights Act, it is illegal to discriminate against someone in employment matters on the basis of sexual orientation. But when Boindi was made aware of this, she didn’t seem to care.
“I was astounded that she would say that,” board President John Anderson said. “It was offensive in every sense of the word.”
Despite upsetting pretty much the entire community, Biondi has not issued an apology for her remarks, nor has she responded requests for comment by the press.
According to superintendent Roycealee Wood, because Biondi was elected to a 4-year term with 31 write-in votes in April 2013, she cannot be forced off the board.
“We’ve had a number of instances where people have committed crimes and been indicted, but unless they’re convicted they cannot be removed,” Wood said. Though, she added, she plans on meeting with the school district’s lawyers to discuss what other legal options the board may have.
“She’s creating a concern for the school district and bad publicity, and there’s no way that I can remove her.” Wood said. “And she knows that.”
In the mean time, mayor Kristina Kovarik is calling for Biondi to resign.
“She’s an embarrassment to this community,” Kovarik scolded. “The comments are outrageous, horrible, and she does not represent our community. That’s what’s most important.”
According to the Chicago Daily Herald, this isn’t the first time Biondi has caused problems for the school district. In February she made a scene at a meeting when she alleged “someone in the district” had wiretapped her telephone. And about a year ago, she said she was afraid for her safety after refusing to accept a district-issued iPad.