Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Protection for gay kids UPDATES

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 6:44 AM

1288213568-mccancecrop.jpg

A timely announcement from the U.S. Education Department yesterday. It says school districts that fail to protect gay students can lose federal dollars.

The letter said schools “must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring.”


I'd hope that the
Midland, Ark. School District would conclude that "eliminating any hostile environment" would include an explanation/apology from School Board member Clint McCance, whose Facebook page essentially wished death to gay kids and who vowed to run off any gay kids in "his vicinity." Also called for would be a rejection of such a view by other members of the School Board and an assurance from the school superintendent that such a hostile view isn't tolerated in the Midland schools. I should add that if it develops that McCance's words and feelings are exactly as they seem to have been expressed, of course he should resign from the School Board.

I reached him again at 4 p.m. today after a day in which local school officials bunkered up as worldwide reaction rained down in the tiny rural district near Batesville. He said, "I'm going to remain tight-lipped for now." He hung up as I asked him if he planned to remain on the School Board.

What follows is the episodic development of the story today, starting early in the morning.

mccancecrop.JPG
I reached McCance on his cell phone this morning about 8:30 a.m.. "I really can't comment right now," he said. He said he planned a meeting with a lawyer this morning and didn't want to say anything further until he'd had that meeting. He did comment that the matter had "been blown out of proportion." He said he'd received several hundred phone calls. Did he regret the comments on the Facebook page? "I can't comment on that right now." He promised an update after the meeting with a lawyer. "I have a family to consider," he said. I've so far been unable to get through to Superintendent Dean Stanley. The district is apparently swamped with calls. Some local activists are talking about taking a protest group to the school Thursday. I'd think a statement — sooner rather than later — would be in order. McCance, who is about 31, has two young children. Owner of a carpet and upholstery cleaning service, he's a fishing enthusiast. He writes on a fishing website (this photo, believed to be McCance, is from that site): "Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter my only interest is god, family, and fishing."

UPDATE II: The Midland School District has removed the names of School Board members from its website. Its e-mail account is not accepting outside e-mail. It has disabled the public comments page. The Board members, in addition to McCance, are Bub Beel, Connie Blevins, Brandon Bowren, Debbie Frazier, Bob Rhew and Bryson Wood.

UPDATE III: A statement from the state Education Department:

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.

UPDATE IV: A statement from Dan Farley, executive director of the Arkansas School Boards Association:

Members of the Arkansas School Boards Association Board of Directors and staff were appalled to read the comments purportedly made by the Midland School Board member in which he denounces gay students. Our organization expects school board members to support the education and promote the welfare of all students in their districts. With 1,500-plus school board members in Arkansas, we are saddened that the comments made by one individual will reflect poorly on other board members who work hard on behalf of the children in their communities.

ASBA has no tolerance for bullying or attacks on children, and we certainly would not tolerate such actions, either physical or verbal, by adults.

When school board members take the oath of office, they swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas. ASBA expects board members to adhere to state and federal laws, and bullying would certainly fall under those statutes.

The Center for Artistic Revolution, which works in gay rights causes, announces a meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at Christ Episcopal Church to discuss a response to the remarks. It has called for McCance's immediate resignation. It plans a "visibility action" Thursday at Midland School District offices if he does not resign.

Stonewall Democrats commented:


Members of the Stonewall Democratic Caucus are saddened and angered by the inappropriate and dangerous comments made by Clint McCance concerning the recent suicides of gay teens.

Bullying and violence against LGBT teens and those perceived to be LGBT has led to a number of suicides around the country in the last few months. Mr. McCance's incendiary remarks perpetuate the cycle of violence and show an incredible lack of leadership. His remarks should be condemned by other members of the Midland School Board and citizens of the community.

A reminder of what McCance was reported to have said on his Facebook page, now disabled:

"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."

After being challenged by a commenter, this was Mr. McCance’s reply:

"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."

"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."

The news landed me on MSNBC:

Tags: , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (94)

Showing 1-50 of 94

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-50 of 94

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hutchinson names Allen Kerr to head Insurance, keeps Sheila Sharp at Community Correction

    Asa Hutchinson has announced that former state Rep. Allen Kerr of Little Rock will be the insurance commissioner in his administration, succeeding Jay Bradford, and that Sheila Sharp will remain as director of the Department of Community Correction.
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Beebe appoints Lamar Davis to Public Service Commission

    Gov. Mike Beebe has named his chief deputy, Lamar Davis, to the seat on the Arkansas Public Service Commission vacated by Chair Colette Honorable, who's joined the Federal Energy RegulatoryCommission. He'll serve through Jan. 14, 2017.
    • Jan 6, 2015
  • Mike Huckabee pays family $400,000 from his PAC

    Mother Jones exposes Mike Huckabee's PAC as a vehicle — not for supporting other candidates of a conservative bent — but paying his family, fund-raising and supporting the Huckabee network.
    • Jan 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation