LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A member of a northern Arkansas school board, commenting on campaign to get people to wear purple to show support for bullied gay and lesbian youth, purportedly posted on Facebook that the only way he would wear purple is "if they all commit suicide."
The Arkansas Department of Education on Wednesday condemned the alleged posting by Midland School Board member Clint McCance.
The Advocate, a magazine that reports about gay issues, first reported about the posting on its website. The Facebook page has been disabled, but The Advocate posted a screen grab of the purported postings that it says someone forwarded to it.
McCance's alleged posting was in response to a Facebook campaign that asked supporters to wear purple last Wednesday to show solidarity after several gay and lesbian youths killed themselves, reportedly because of bullying.
"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves," McCance allegedly wrote. "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."
McCance didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday left on his voicemail. But he told the Arkansas Times that the issue had been "blown out of proportion" and he planned to issue a statement later Wednesday. Officials at the Midland School District said Superintendent Dean Stanley was out of the office and not available for comment.
The Human Rights Campaign, which seeks equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, has called for McCance's resignation. A Facebook group, "Fire Clint McCance," had more than 15,000 members by midday Wednesday.
The state Education Department said in a statement Wednesday that it had no jurisdiction over elected school officials but that it would investigate any reports of bullying that arise because of the incident.
"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," the department said.