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McCance: I Have Family to Consider

McCance: I Have Family to Consider

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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 Advocatebroke 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.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.