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HRC to Arkansas School Board Hater: Resign or Face Investigation and Removal

October 27, 2010
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HRC sends letter to education officials.

Washington - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today once again called upon Clint McCance - a Midland School Board Member from Arkansas - to resign following an anti-gay tirade he unleashed on Facebook in response to national Spirit Day last week. Today, HRC also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Education and the Midland School District calling for an immediate investigation into McCance's conduct and to suspend him from office if he does not heed our call to resign. A Facebook page calling for McCance's resignation has swelled over 17,000 "likes."

The messages were first brought to HRC's attention by R. Anthony Turner, a 1998 graduate of Midland High School. A PDF of the Facebook page with the message ishere.

Text of the letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese:

October 27, 2010

Dr. Tom W. Kimbrell
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201

Mr. Bryson Wood
President, Midland School Board
P.O. Box 630
741 Main Street
Pleasant Plains, AR 72568

Dear Dr. Kimbrell and Mr. Wood:

I am writing about the recent hateful anti-gay tirade by Midland School District Board Member Clint McCance on Facebook. Given the severity of his remarks and the position which he holds, we are demanding that your agencies immediately launch investigations into his conduct. Furthermore, we ask that Mr. McCance be suspended from his position immediately if he does not heed our call to resign.

No students should be subject to the kind of hate that came from Mr. McCance. All kids deserve better and that's why it's imperative for your agencies to act swiftly and with resolve.

The record of McCance's conduct is clear. In response to national Spirit Day last Wednesday, an individual that guides the education of children took to Facebook and wrote: "Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin [sic] it for them is if they all commit suicide." Unfortunately, his tirade did not end there. Screen captures of his Facebook postings can be found here.

You are no doubt aware of the letter sent to all school districts on Monday by the U.S. Department of Education informing them of their requirement under Title IX to protect all students from harassment, including harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no doubt that Mr. McCance's conduct is clearly at odds with this requirement. Mr. McCance's comments also violate the Midland's School District's nondiscrimination policy, which reads: "The Midland School District is committed to having an academic and work environment in which all students and employees are treated with respect and dignity. Student achievement and amicable working relationships are best attained in an atmosphere of equal educational and employment opportunity that is free of discrimination."

Students in the Midland School District, across Arkansas and America were put in harm's way by Mr. McCance's insidious remarks. These are exactly the kind of statements that will lead some kids to bully and others to continue a destructive pattern of self-loathing behavior. When an authority figure of Mr. McCance's standing repudiates gay people, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous and you have a responsibility to act NOW.

We await your immediate response.

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese
President

Cc: Russlynn Ali
Assistant Secretary, Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
400 Maryland Ave SW
Washington DC 20202

Mr. Dean Stanley
Superintendant, Midland School District
P.O. Box 630
741 Main Street
Pleasant Plains, AR 72568

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