School board lambastes member for comments on gays, lesbians

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Calling her comments a "stain on the community," Warren Township school board members and the mayor of Gurnee want board member Liz Biondi gone, after inflammatory statements she made at a public meeting.

Biondi’s comments at a Warren Township school board meeting discussing what qualities board members want to see in the new superintendent outraged everyone at the meeting.

“I have very good friends who are gay and lesbian and I'm concerned that we … if we hired someone, and we were not aware of their background, that they may be fighting more personal fires than superintendent fires," Biondi said at the meeting.

Board members tried to move the conversation in another direction. But Biondi persisted.

"I would have no problem with it, but I know members of our community would, and that's why I want to bring it up,” she continued.

Board members, union members, the current superintendent and the Gurnee mayor want Biondi to resign.

Mayor Kristina Kovarik said Gurnee embraces diversity, and Biondi's statements do not represent the community.  She's calling on the community to take action.

“They need to picket her home … she has embarrassed us terribly,” Kovarik said.

“I was shocked … it's just hideous,” said school board President John Anderson.

The next board meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 16, when the board will ask for Biondi's resignation.  There's also a Change.org petition circulating online.

Mrs. Biondi did not respond to WGN’s request for an interview.

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9 comments

  • Martin

    what does her opinion/stance/comments on gays and lesbians have anything to do with her job performance? you say you embrace diversity? does not sound like it, diversity means accepting people who may not have the same views or opinion as you. Mrs. Biondi should not be made a pariah for vocalizing what she believes in, she has a right to her opinion and free speech. Embracing diversity and equality works both ways and people who are gay or lesbian or supporters of gay equality should learn to accept those who don’t feel the same way they do, or they’re just as bigoted and hypocritical as they are. I am so tired of seeing and hearing stories of people losing their jobs for doing their job and going against the grain/voicing their opinion.

    • Jonathan

      “I have very good friends who are black and Hispanic and I’m concerned that we … if we hired someone, and we were not aware of their background, that they may be fighting more personal fires than superintendent fires,” Biondi said at the meeting. — Martin, you think that’s ok too?

    • Fred

      Martin…. Seriously?!?! Embracing diversity doesn’t mean allowing bigotry to have a voice. She insinuated that someone’s sexual preference may interfere with their ability to do their job. That is not an opinion, that is ignorant and prejudice. It is scary that you would think that we should allow prejudice to have a say in our schools’ hiring processes. Wake up!!! That is ignorance, not simply a different perspective. There is a difference.

  • Carrie

    Who cares? We all know that we cannot say what we really feel openly anymore. We all have to be agreeable now. Gone are the days of expressing our opinions. I guess we have to do that under the cover of darkness in our homes…and sometimes not even then! Thank God for the internet. At least we can say what we really feel. Homosexuals belong back in the closet. There, I said it. Now come and get me all of you PC numbskulls. I won’t bother coming back to see the responses anyway.

    • Fred

      Carrie… we are free to say whatever we want… that is the beauty. People should say what they think in public. Then everyone else can judge them for who they really are. The internet only allows cowards to speak out anonymously. People are learning that there are consequences for hatred and bigotry. Fewer and fewer people find it acceptable… It’s tunfortunate you see that as a bad thing.

  • Jack

    To the people who are calling this a “free speech” issue and are saying “this has nothing to do with her job.” Please be aware of the situation, it is illegal to not hire someone because of their age, race, sexual preference, and marriage status. She was proposing doing something illegal. That is not a free speech issue or an opinion issue. This directly effects her job and the law in the state of Illinois.

  • Craig G

    We need to differentiate between serious bigots and mild cranks.
    Yesterday, a slow news day upgraded this story to “news”.
    School board member Liz Biondi came out with some mildly stupid remarks about hiring a gay school superintendent. Her main point was that she was fine with it, but thought the community might not be. I have no idea how enlightened Gurnee may be, so she may just have been stating facts, albeit in a face-palm kind of way.
    Every committee in existence has a crank or two — believe me, I’m speaking from current experience — and you just go, “Well, that’s Liz…”, outvote her and move on.
    But the mayor of Gurnee, Kristina Kovarik, immediately began screaming for Biondi’s head, calling her an embarrassment (fair enough), demanding her resignation (that’s a bit over the top) and *publicly advising people to picket the woman’s house.*
    I think it’s pretty clear which one is the serious nut case here.

    • Fred

      Craig,
      I understand that you are unaware of the complete story and have to pass judgment based on this story, but if you followed this board member more closely, you’d discover that at previous meetings she has claimed that her telephone has been tapped to monitor her communications. She is the serious nut case here… for certain. Not Mayor Kovarik. Careful calling someone a nut case before knowing the full story.