(CNN) -- The Arkansas Department of Education has condemned anti-gay comments made by a local school board member and posted on a social networking site.
Da charming one (No, not really)
Midland School District Vice President Clint McCance wrote on his personal Facebook page that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a newspaper focusing on gay news. McCance used the terms "queer" and "fag" repeatedly, promised to disown his own children if they were gay, and stated that he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] often give each other AIDS and die."
A strongly worded statement signed by Dean Stanley, superintendent of the Midland School District, disavowed the remarks. "The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying," the statement read, "and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate of all of our students. The district is very diligent in pursuing and addressing bullying of any variety on our campuses."
A separate statement sent to CNN by Julie Thompson, director of communications for the Arkansas Department of Education, said the department is "dismayed to see that a school board official would post something of this insensitive nature on a public forum like Facebook."
Because McCance is an elected official, the department cannot deal with him directly, according to the statement. But staff will be monitoring schools to provide a quick response in case students are bullied because of McCance's comments, it said.
The posts were made, according to The Advocate, in response to a bullying awareness campaign sponsored by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The "Spirit Day" campaign aimed to foster recognition of bullying directed at gays and the effects it can have on young people through a series of events held on October 20.
One aspect of the campaign encouraged people to wear purple to honor young people who had committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying, and to show solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who face the same pressures.
According to the screen grab at The Advocate, McCance wrote the following about the event: "Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. 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 therselves because of their sin." (sic)
There is now a page on Facebook encouraging the Midland School District to fire McCance.
On Tuesday, the federal government warned that bullying and harassment in schools often includes violations of federally protected civil rights. Officials warned that school administrators who fail to properly deal with harassment risk being cited for civil rights violations. In extreme cases, such violations could lead to cuts in federal funding.
An 18-year-old Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in September, after a secretly taped sexual encounter between him and another man was posted on the internet. It was the most recent in a string of suicides by gay youths that have received increased media scrutiny in the context of an anti-bullying push by advocacy groups.
Antigay Arkansas School Official Clint McCance Has 'a Family to Consider' Video
by SheWired Editors | Article Date: 10/27/2010 6:03 PM
The Arkansas school board member who advocated on Facebook for gays to kill themselves told the editor of the Arkansas Times he has yet to release a statement because he has family to consider.
Clint McCance made headlines Tuesday when The Advocate reported on his Facebook message, protesting being asked to wear purple in honor of teens who have taken their lives by saying he’d wear the color “is if they all commit suicide.”
He has yet to grant an interview, but spoke he briefly with Arkansas Times editor Max Brantley.
“He said one thing that was interesting to me,” Brantley told Thomas Roberts during an interview on MSNBC. “He said, ‘Well, I have a family to consider.’ You know, there are millions of people that have family to consider with gay kids who worry about their safety in schools, and you’ve got a school board member who doesn’t sound like he’s very concerned about it.”
On Tuesday the Arkansas Department of Education condemned his comments, but a spokeswoman said it may be impossible for him to be removed from office as a board member in the Midland school district.
“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.
Thompson says McCance, as an elected official, answers to voters, not Midland school district’s superintendent. “[The Arkansas Department of Education] doesn’t have any control over his job,” Thompson pointed out.
But Thompson made it clear her office condemns McCance’s Facebook comments, in which he called gay people “fags” and “queers,” and encouraged them to kill themselves if they didn’t get AIDS and die first.
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.”
Midland school district officials have so far remained silent on the issue. No one with the school district has released a statement or spoken to the press since The Advocate broke the story on the postings Tuesday.
“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.
more sauce (Pic of the charmer came from this source)
If he were my dad, I'd move out of the house and stay out for as long as I need to. This is one kind of attention I would not want on me at all.