BREAKING: Arkansas school board member Clint McCance apologizes, says he’ll resign

Clint McCance, the school board member from Midland, Ark., who recently encouraged gays to kill themselves on his Facebook page, said Thursday night on CNN that he plans to resign his seat:

“I’m sorry I’ve hurt people with my comments,” McCance told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I’m sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum. …

“I would never support suicide for any kids,” McCance said. “I don’t support bullying of any kids.”

“The words I used were unfortunate … but they can’t be taken back,” he said. “All I can do now is extend my apologies for my poor speech.”

Read the full story by going here.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Clint McCance’s decision to resign from the school board is a step forward for the community he represents. We are hopeful the wounds that were inflicted will soon be healed. What remains troubling is that Mr. McCance focused his regret on particular word choices not the animus behind those words. We hope he will take this time to reflect not only on the language he used but on what he can do to make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people better.”

—  John Wright

Feedback • 10.29.10

Forget “firing” Arkansas school board member Clint McCance or simply “reprimanding” him (“Joel Burns responds to Arkansas school board member who encouraged gays to kill themselves,” Instant Tea, posted Oct. 26). He should be arrested for inciting violence.

He doesn’t understand the uproar because he actually does not believe gay people are “real” people. That is how intense his hate is.

I understand about “free speech,” but if you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater or make terrorist threats on a plane, then you shouldn’t be able to use a high school campus as a platform to tell gay kids they don’t deserve to live.

I grew up in South Arkansas, so I am very familiar with how small towns in the South can serve as a breeding ground for hate and violence against gay people. I thank God I survived. I had no one to turn to, not even my own parents, which is often the case with gay adolescents.

People in Midland who genuinely care about their young people need to march in the streets over this and take advantage of this opportunity to learn and grow and dispel the myths that cause so much hatefulness to be directed toward young gay people. Children do not “turn gay” or “choose to be gay” or “become gay.” They are just gay, and terrified to be honest about it around people who have a lynch mob mentality. And sadly, it is the adults who claim to be Christians who actually pass these violent ideologies and misinformation on to their children.

These comments would never be acceptable if they were spoken about heterosexual students, so why are they accepted when they’re directed at our young gay students? Slap some handcuffs on this person immediately and find something to charge him with — even if he just has to sit in jail overnight — and send a loud and clear message to students on the brink of suicide that Midland School District unequivocally does not tolerate this hate speech and before another amazing student decides jumping off a bridge tonight would be better than going to class tomorrow.

Randy in Dallas

—  Kevin Thomas