Just over a week ago, people across America wore purple in memory of the young people who have taken their own lives in the past few months due to anti-LGBT bullying. On Tuesday, the Advocate reported that one Arkansas school board member was so enraged by this that he took to Facebook to write that he won’t wear purple until all “queers” commit suicide. And his anti-gay rant didn’t stop there…
Clint 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 shit 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 responded [to another comment] 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.”
McCance’s Facebook page is set to private but a screencapture of the page was forwarded to the Advocate. Clearly, while this is a violation of the man’s privacy with regards to the fact that he didn’t plan on displaying his views to the wider public, we are reminded that what one puts on a social network website is never truly private. The screencapture can be seen here.
The school district has not yet responded to requests for a comment, but McCance’s words prompted the Human Rights Campaign to issue the following statement:
“Clint McCance has put a face on the hate that devastates our young people,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “McCance and his hate shouldn’t be allowed near children, let alone managing their education. We call for his immediate resignation from the school board.”
A Facebook group calling for McCance to be removed from the school board has been set up. The group can be found here. Several bloggers are now questioning whether McCance’s anti-gay rant would in fact violate the district’s anti-bullying policy if he was held to the same standard as the children in Midland schools.
In other news, the U.S. Department of Education this week issued new guidelines warning public schools that, while current federal legislation does not specifically cover anti-LGBT bullying, schools are obligated to tackle all forms of bullying or risk violating civil rights laws and, as a result, having their federal funding stripped. LGBT rights groups have praised this decision but highlight that a federal statute protecting LGBTs like other classes must be enacted to ensure full compliance.
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“The Arkansas Department of Education strongly condemns remarks or attitudes of this kind and is 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.”
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