Many of you may have heard of this story. No matter how many times I read it, it seems unreal that, given everything that's been in the news the past month with LGBT teen suicides, a school board official (or anyone else, for that matter) would have the nerve to say what Clint McCance said. I've bolded his comments below so that they can easily be made out.
McCance is a board member in the Midland school district in northern Arkansas. Responding to a call to wear purple last Wednesday to support LGBT youth, McCance wrote the following message on his Facebook page: "Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE."
Initially, six people "liked" McCance's message. He also received supportive comments, though some challenged his statement. A commenter wrote, "Because hatred is always right." That led McCance to write, "No because being a fag doesn't give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that sh-t to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it."
McCance was again challenged on his statements — and his Christianity. Wrote one commenter: "YOU NEED TO STOP AND THINK FOR A SEC GREAT YOU BIG CHRISTIAN MAN ! SO KEEP ALL OF YOUR THOUGHTS TO YOUR SELF YOU DONT WANT PPL TALKIN ABOUT YOUR FAMILY SO DONT TALK BOUT OTHERS."
McCance responded with, "I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone."
Amazingly, McCance will likely keep his job. “In Arkansas law, the only way to recall a school board member is over a felony [committed by him or her] or absentee issues,” said Julie Johnson Thompson, the director of communications for the Arkansas Department of Education in Little Rock.
On Wednesday, Thompson’s office released the following statement: “The Arkansas Department of Education strongly condemns remarks or attitudes of this kind and are dismayed to see that a school board official would post something of this insensitive nature on a public forum like Facebook. Because Mr. McCance is an elected official, the department has no means of dealing with him directly. However, the department does have staff who investigate matters of bullying in schools and we will monitor and quickly respond to any bullying of students that may occur because of this, as we have with other civil rights issues in the past. The department also has worked with the State’s Office of the Attorney General during the month of October to provide training to counselors across the state regarding cyberbullying, ‘sexting’ and texting, which included a portion on how to watch for and deal with bullying of this kind.”
“I believe the school district is working on a statement,” Thompson said. “I know their superintendent is not in town right now.”
Thompson says her office has been inundated with e-mails, though mostly from out of state: “People are pretty much horrified,” she said.
For more details on this story, click here and here.