The Midland School District, Board of Directors, administration, faculty, and staff do not support or condone the comments Mr. Clint McCance posted on his personal social networking 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 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 district is very diligent in pursuing and addressing bullying of any variety on our campuses.
The Arkansas state Department of Education has issued a statement denouncing the anti-gay remarks made by local Independence County school board member Clint McCance, who used Facebook to celebrate the suicides of LGBT teenagers and the deaths of gay people from AIDS. The DOE’s statement does not appear in the above-linked Associate Press story other than their word “dismayed.”
The posting said to be from Midland School Board member Clint McCance came after last week’s nationwide move for people to wear purple ribbons in support of gay and lesbian youth. The posting, first reported on The Advocate’s website, said that the only way McCance would wear purple is “if they all commit suicide.” McCance couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday but told the Arkansas Times that the issue had been “blown out of proportion” and he plans to issue a statement later in the day. The Facebook page has since been disabled but a screen-grab remains on The Advocate’s website. The Human Rights Campaign has called for McCance’s resignation. The state Education Department’s statement Wednesday said it is “dismayed” over the posting.
After receiving several emails alleging Midland school board member Clint McCance made disparaging remarks about gay students, Today’s THV is investigating the allegations. McCance is accused of posting on his Facebook page that several recent suicides of gay students across the U.S. were due to those students’ sin. He also allegedly made other comments bashing gays. Today’s THV has not confirmed McCance actully made the posts, but B.J. Steed is in Midland, which is just outside Batesville in Independence County, trying to contact McCance as well as other school board members. Today’s THV contacted Superintendent Dean Stanley’s office, but he is out until Friday. Midland Principal Donna Clark would only reply “no comment” to all our questions. In response to the comments on Facebook, someone set up another Facebook page calling for McCance to be removed from the board. THV’s BJ Steed will have more on this developing story on Today’s THV at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
MSNBC is reporting on the story as I type this. I’ll have video ASAP.
UPDATE: Here’s the statement from the Arkansas Department of Education.
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.
“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.
Midland School District is located about 85 miles northeast of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Midland School Board Member Clint McCance's Facebook page really speaks for itself.
Says McCance in a status update responding to last week's Spirit Day in memory of gay and lesbian youth who killed themselves over bullying:
“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. REALLY PEOPLE.”
Writes McCance in response to commenters on his page:
“No because being a fag doesnt 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.” He further writes, “I would disown my kids if 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.”
The Advocatemade attempts to contact school officials: "The superintendent of the Midland school district was unavailable and a phone call to the principal of the Midland High School was not returned. There was no response to e-mails to the superintendent and to the secretary of the Midland school board."
The charge is a simple one. The group, a non-profit called “Brothah's and Sistah's Inc.” got k from the state to test out new methods for fighting HIV/AIDS in minority communities. Specifically, the group set up shop in a gay club geared towards African American gay men, and handed out condoms and did HIV tests. At issue is whether or not the group handled ,000 of the k it recieved appropriately. Fair enough.
However, Arkansas Republicans couldn't stop there. According to sources, three members (more on them later) went beyond this. One wondered aloud whether or not there were enough gay black men to be concerned about the project…another took the position that people engaged in “risky behavior” (being gay) should just deal with the consequences of their actions. Republicans are already trying to turn this into a political issue, using gay-baiting language to smear Democrats. Check the title of a recent blog post by a prominent Arkansas Republican blogger:
All ready, Republican trolls are trying to tie this to state senator Joyce Elliott, a candidate for Congress in Arkansas and an LGBT ally because, get this, she's the state senator of the district where the gay club was located…I shit you not.
Republicans are determined to make an issue of this. Arkansas progressive activists plan to do the same, but not the way the Republicans are hoping…stay tuned.
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397
FRC Praises Senate for Stopping Liberal Social Agenda in Defense Authorization Bill
September 21, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Research Council President Tony Perkins today praised Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and those senators who voted to stop the Senate Defense Authorization bill by voting against the motion to proceed.
Of the vote Perkins said:
“This is a victory for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. At least for now they will not be used to advance a radical social agenda. We applaud Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain and Senator Jim Inhofe for their successful efforts to stop this legislation which would not only force open homosexuality on the military but also turn our military hospitals into abortion clinics.
“While Democratic leadership took their cues from pop singer Lady Gaga, Republicans and a few Democratic colleagues instead considered the views of all four military service chiefs who have urged Congress to keep the current law.
“Yesterday, Lady Gaga showed contempt for those in the military who support the current policy by saying, ‘Our new law is called, “If you don’t like it, go home”.’ This seems to echo Admiral Mullen’s warning that opponents of repeal should ‘vote with your feet,’ and reported comments by Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick that such proponents of the current policy must ‘get with the program’ or ‘get out.’
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently doesn’t realize that if everyone with traditional values leaves the military, virtually no one will be left to defend our country. Certainly not Lady Gaga. It’s a sad commentary on our Congressional leadership when they pay more attention to an entertainer with a flair for the bizarre than they do to the leaders of all four service branches,” concluded Perkins.
The Rev. Dr. Robert Franke — who should add some initials to the end of his name, because he's seriously lacking in credentials — was kicked out of an Arkansas assisted living facility after it realized he's HIV-positive. Guess who sued and scored? As August's trial approached, seems a certain somebody was all interested in discussing settlement options: "Lambda Legal announced today it has settled its lawsuit on behalf of an HIV-positive retired university provost and former minister against Fox Ridge, a North Little Rock assisted living facility. The Reverend Dr. Robert Franke relocated to Little Rock to be closer to his daughter, Sara Franke Bowling, and moved in to Fox Ridge after fulfilling residency requirements that included submission of medical evaluation forms from a local physician. The next day, however – after realizing Dr. Franke is HIV-positive – Fox Ridge officials abruptly ejected Dr. Franke from the facility. With the assistance of Lambda Legal, Franke and Bowling sued under the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and similar state laws. 'While we can't discuss the specific terms of the settlement, I can say we're quite pleased to have settled this matter,' said Dr. Franke. 'We firmly believe that as a result of our having brought this lawsuit, retired people in Arkansas who have HIV are less likely to face this kind of discrimination in the future.'"
Yesterday, we told you about 10-year-old Will Phillips being chosen as grand marshal of the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride Parade in his hometown of Fayetteville. Phillips is the young man who made news last fall when he refused to stand in class to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because the pledge promises “liberty and justice for all” and, as he says, it’s a lie because LGBT people aren’t given equal rights in this country.
Well, leave it up to our old buddy Tim Wildmon over at the American Family Association to say something egregiously stupid and outrageous about Will being given this honor.
Last November, we told you here on Instant Tea about Will Foster, a 10-year-old boy from Fayetteville, Ark., who got in trouble because he refused to stand up with the rest of his elementary school class and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Will said he wouldn’t do it because he believed that same-sex couples should have equal rights, including the right to marry, and because it would be lying to say the Pledge, which promises “liberty and justice for all,” when he knew for a fact that didn’t apply to LGBT people.
Since making headlines last fall, Will has been all over the country, his dad says, talking to “literally thousands of people” and recording public service announcements promoting LGBT equality.
Now, organizers of the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride parade in his hometown are honoring Will Foster for his commitment to equality by naming him grand marshal of their parade.
The parade will take place in Fayetteville, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Go here and watch a new video interview with Will, in which he declares, “It’s wrong for anyone to be treated differently just because of the way they were born.” What’s he looking for? “Full equality.”
He also notes that, having attended the parade before, he knows there will likely be protesters at some point along the parade route? How will he respond to them? “Smile wider and wave at them.”
The Arkansas News has just reported that Circuit Judge Chris Piazza today issued a ruling striking down an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution banning adoption or foster parenting by gays and lesbians.
Act 1 was passed by Arkansas voters in 2008, and the ACLU filed a suit challenging the ban shortly thereafter.
Today, Judge Piazza said the ban “infringes upon the fundamental right to privacy guaranteed to all citizens of Arkansas.” His ruling also said Act 1 unconstitutionally burdens non-marital relationships and acts of sexual intimacy between adults by forcing them to choose between becoming a parent and having any meaningful type of intimate relationship outside of marriage.
Act 1 supporters had said the ban should be upheld because children are better off being raised in “traditional family” settings with married parents of opposite genders, and that the ban would protect children from abuse and neglect.
Okay. A couple of days ago, I posted a blog here about 10-year-old Will Phillips of Arkansas who has refused to stand up in class and recite the Pledge of Allegiance until there truly is — as it promises — liberty and justice for all, and that includes equal rights for LGBT people.
Will told CNN in an interview that because of his stand, his classmates have made the assumption he is gay and have been making fun of him and calling him “gaywad.”
Now Jon Stewart has arranged some protection for Will: