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Furor grows over purported anti-gay remarks from school board member

State education department weighs in

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published October 27, 2010 at 11:15 a.m. Updated October 27, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.

— More than 23,000 people have joined an online campaign calling for the firing of an Arkansas school board member who is purported to have made anti-gay remarks on his Facebook page.

The effort seeking the dismissal of Midland School District board member Clint McCance centers on posts visible on a screenshot of a page that appears to be McCance's online profile. The image is posted on a Facebook group calling for McCance's firing that had 14,300 supporters as of 11:30 a.m.

The Advocate, a magazine that reports about gay issues, first reported about the posting on its website. The Facebook page has been disabled, but The Advocate posted a screen grab of the alleged postings that it says someone forwarded to it.

"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide," the posting reads in the screenshot. "The only way im wearin it for the 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."

No profile bearing McCance's name is publicly available on Facebook and a man who answered a phone associated with one of McCance's businesses Wednesday would not verify that he wrote the postings.

"I can't comment at this time, I've got to talk to my attorney," said the man, who hung up when asked if he was McCance.

No one answered the same number Wednesday afternoon, but the message identified it as McCance's.

Other postings shown in the same screenshot use an offensive term for homosexuals and state the writer enjoys "the fact that they often give each other aids and die" and would disown his children if they were gay.

A message left with Midland Superintendent Dean Stanley was not returned Wednesday morning. A school official said she believed he was out of the office until Friday.

In a statement, the Midland School District distanced itself from McCance’s comments and said the school does not “support or condone” what was written on the Facebook page.

“Mr. McCance was not acting as an agent of the school board, but as a private citizen when this comment was posted. This post does not reflect the thoughts of the board or administration of the Midland School District,” the statement said. “The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate of all of our students.”

The Arkansas Department of Education condemned the remarks in a post on its own Facebook page, saying it was "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," the statement read. "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."

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign called on McCance to resign and said it had sent letters to the U.S. Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Education and the Midland School District calling for an investigation into his conduct. The group calls itself the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

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Comments on: Furor grows over purported anti-gay remarks from school board member

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money says... October 27, 2010 at 12:03 p.m.

And we're suprised that our children are bullied???

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ArkansasHawk says... October 27, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.

Well, I am all for innocent until proven guilty. If someone created the page impersonating the School Board Member, then I have no ill will towards the Board Member, however if it is determined by an investigation or his own admission that it is his account and his words, then this guy should be removed from the Board.

If he feels that way about gay people, There is no telling what he thinks of African Americans or Hispanic Americans.

A bigot is a bigot! And Parents and Children need better leaders than that.

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salbarado308 says... October 27, 2010 at 12:28 p.m.

You can't fire an elected official. You might be able to start a recall effort.

( | suggest removal )

cypress7 says... October 27, 2010 at 12:29 p.m.

Homosexuality is a sin, an abomination before God.
Bible is the word of God,not a fiction novel. God Bless you all and I pray you turn from your lifestyle of destruction.

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djigoo says... October 27, 2010 at 12:30 p.m.

Did lazybar just post a string of unrelated words? Good heavens...

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lazybar says... October 27, 2010 at 12:30 p.m.

freedom of speech should protect those right and wrong alike.funny how some words are ok depending on who says them.for example some think being gay is a bad thing and some think being redneck is a bad thing.some think its ok to be either or both.its just a opinion but your a bigot if your a redneck and call someone gay because you don`t like thier lifestyle.are your not being a bigot for being gay and calling someone a redneck because you don`t like thier lifestyle?

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ArkansasHawk says... October 27, 2010 at 12:44 p.m.

Everyone has a right to free speech and believe, say and write whatever they feel. If they are against gay people, fine, Black people, Hispanic, or rednecks fine. They have a right to not like them based on their gender, race, life style or orientation, but what we can not do and should not do, is treat them like second class citizen's and discriminate.

The laws say you have freedom of speech and thought, but the problems occur when someone tries to deny others rights or harass and bully others for what they are or believe.

People elected to any position, whatever their beliefs should be responsible. Regardless, leaders must represent everyone equally no matter how they feel about them.

I think that is my problem with this Board Member if he indeed made those remarks. Because then, he is saying in essence, the gay kid or black kid, or white kid or red neck kid, is not equal and shouldn't get equal treatment as others.

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Winfield says... October 27, 2010 at 1:03 p.m.

Being an elected official, he should not have expressed his personal feelings and views about gays on Facebook. However, someone else may have posted as him to get the man in deep trouble.

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Tater72150 says... October 27, 2010 at 1:05 p.m.

There is no place among a normal society for abnormal people. Gays are not normal. Being abnormal is not normal no matter what some college professor or movie star tells you. If you are intimidated by what somebody thinks of you because you call it like it is then the weakness is with you. No wonder your kids are bullied. You allow them to be, by not making them confront problems head on ,as you apparently refuse to do as well.

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charlie3704 says... October 27, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.

seems everyone today are so quick to throw in the race card. what has this nation come to? This my friends is one of the many problems this great country has.we need to just deal with it and go on. I have heard so many times about gays are born this way and I do not believe it, Its thier choice! I also believe this man does not need (if he did so) to post these things on a public web sight. And everyone in the world is raciest, even though you think your not, you are. There is some group in the world you single out even though you may not comment about them to someone, but in your mind you do and that my friends is raciest.

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