October 29th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Arkansas school board member to resign over anti-gay post

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A school board district member in Arkansas who came under fire for an anti-gay post on a social networking site regrets the comments and will resign his seat, he told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

"I'm sorry I've hurt people with my comments," Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas said. "I'm sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum."

McCance wrote on his personal Facebook page that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a newspaper focusing on gay news.

McCance used the terms "queer" and "fag" repeatedly, promised to disown his own children if they are gay and stated that he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die."

"I would never support suicide for any kids," he said. "I don't support bullying of any kids."

"I'd like to extend apologies to those families that have lost children, for all those children who feel that suicide is the only way out, especially for the five families who have already lost children," he said, referring to a rash of recent suicides by gay teens. "I brought more hurt on them... they didn't deserve that and I do feel genuinely bad for them."

Though he disapproves of homosexuality, McCance said that "I give everyone a chance and try to love everyone."

McCance said that he has received an outpouring of criticism over his comments, including "thousands of phone calls, hate mails, people threatening to kill my family and me."

He said he has sent his wife and two kids out of the state because of fears for their safety and that he is installing a security system at his home.

"I'm reaping what I've sown," he told CNN. "I've had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level."

He said he would resign from the school board to spare the district the bad press and distractions of dealing with the fallout from his comments. "If they decide after five or ten years to vote me back in, then I'll run again," he said.

Full story

Filed under: 360º Follow • Bullying • Gay & Lesbian Issues
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Steve Winkler

    This story touches each and every one of us in some way.
    We all know its wrong to feel this way. I do not believe any one could be raised to believe such things or act in this manor. We all should have tolerance for one another in this world that we live in.
    Thank you Anderson for reminding us what is going on outside of our own comfort zones. You truly are one of our best reporters in the whole world.
    I feel your questions and answers are heartfelt and honest , you set a good example for all of us to follow.

    October 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  2. Roger Carrier

    Using the "wrong language" is not an apology. It's total spin.

    October 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  3. P.M.

    I am not gay and neither are any members of my large family. With that said, I can't believe that in 2010, in the United States of America, "the greatest country in the world", one group of society is suffering unspeakable injustices at the hands of other members of our society, and at the same time having to fight so hard for EQUAL rights. Shouldn't this have been covered in the Civil Rights movement? I wish we could go back and slip it in, instead of going through all this hatred and bigotry all over again!

    October 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  4. Wally

    Anonymous said: "It is a shame that his exercising his freedom of speech, while wrong and hateful, has led to death threats to his wife and children." Why is it necessary to bring up free speech? Is it so you can feel like an intellectual or a freedom loving American? The freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences for your speech. Yes it is a shame that his family has to suffer because of his ignorance, but again what does freedom of speech have to do with anything?

    October 29, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  5. Kavon

    I'm sorry but he had time to think about what he was posting. It wasn't like he "said" the comments. He wrote them out on the computer. He knew exactly what he was saying. I hope he doesn't have an opportunity to work in school systems or with kids ever again.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  6. CeliaMarie

    I concur with Dr. Phil ~ "a non apology apology" and I have intentionally avoided commenting about this school board official until now. My focus continues to be on the 5 families who are mourning the loss of their children. I pray that they will find comfort during their time of deep grief.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  7. Ken Thnmpson

    I agree withe several of the posters above, that the man is just ashamed that he was busted. Any parent that says that they would disown his own children is not a parent at all shame on him. After seeing his interview it is apprent that he has NO true remorse only thig the he truly regrets is being busted. I would only hope that this is not a reflection of his states views on the troubles that children deal with day in and day out. SHAME ON YOU. Remember you reap what you sew. I know of more that one set of parents who have felt the same way that this man does and their children are now gay.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  8. Dale

    I feel sorry for McCance's children. Not so much for his wife as I am sure she knows what kind of man he us.

    For those that made threats against McCance and his family are no better than he is.

    I do believe McCance is only sorry that he got caught. As others have mentioned, he would not say that he will not use these words in the future nor dud he say he would not disown his children if they turn out to be gay.

    Unfortunately he comes across as one of those so-called "Christians" that only read the parts of the bible they want to. People like him have no clue what being a Christian really means.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  9. Dawn R

    I don't believe any Federal Monies should be given to ANY States that discriminate against any people, and if AR does NOT prosecute this man for this kind of behavior, then it will continue to occur all over this country. What are they teaching our children in school about diversity and equal rights under our constitution? This is totally unacceptable in any State education system.

    October 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  10. Jonathan

    the problem is not what he said. it's not the tone he took, the words he used, the hate he feels.
    the problem is not that his children mean so little he would disown them because of the life he genetically gave them. the problem is not that he would rather children/teens/adults kill themselves insted of being any kind of productive member of society.
    none of that is the problem.
    the problem is that he is not alone. not by far.

    October 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  11. Cindy Rook

    I also want to say kudos to Mr. Cooper! You are wonderful for bringing this to the attention of us all! Please know all Arkansans do not feel the way this so obviouly mis guided person does! GOOD JOB COOPER!!!!!

    October 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  12. John

    I agree with Robert completely. It's articles like this that brings out the ignorance in the majority. Doesn't matter how so called intelligent, what credentials you have, or how many degrees, ignorance always shows it's ugly face when people react to emotional issues.

    October 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  13. L.E.

    I too wanted Anderson to ask him what other words he could have possible chosen over queer and fag that would have made it any better or less hate filled. He may be sorry for upsetting the parents of the children that have committed suicide because he is a parent himself but I would agree the the root of his remorse is having the rant brought to the attention of the whole world.

    October 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  14. jayna

    Andersen: Thank you for your excellent reporting work. Thank you as well for all efforts to stop the gay-bashing and the hateful terms used against gay and lesbian citizens. I am a grown adult, over 50 years of age, every day of my life I battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Being gay in America has never been easy. The bullying, the comments, the insults constantly resound in my head. God bless the work that you and Ellen and others are doing. If we can save one young person, then all is not in vain.

    October 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  15. Ironlace

    Be angry and sin not. That is good advice for both sides of this horrible experience.

    October 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  16. Bruce Jenkins

    "I picked the wrong words" "Apologies for poor speech" "Over the top" "Went to far"
    This idiot hasn't learned anything. He's sorry that he got caught, but he isn't sorry for being a hate-filled bigot. And, let's not forget that he works with kids.

    October 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  17. M.A.

    i totally agreed with Anderson putting the Arkansas school board official "in his place" but I got tired of him keepin' on and on asking him the same thing. Once, maybe twice but it got monotaneous the way he kept badgering him. The man's answer obviously couldn't be anything different each time the same thing was asked

    October 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Chris

    The only reason why he's "sorry" on making those comments is because he lost his job over it. If he was able to go on unscathed, then he would've just expanded on his hateful comments.

    October 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  19. Tchaikovsky

    this guy is just embarrassed that he received so much attention he doesn't mean anything he says in the video, I don't even see why the media is giving him attention, this story is just going to make people angry.

    October 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  20. Brad

    I'm gald that Mr. McCance took the right step by resigning. I saw his responce on AC360, and I think he's sorry for the fact that he put himself in a tight spot, not so much that he's sorry for what he said. I'm a gay man and to say such hateful things promotes violence all across this nation, not just in small towns. Those less fortunate not to have resources available to help give direction, support with their sexual orientation, the young people struggling should not have to be on a "Day to Day" edge that they might be beat up, or worse...murdered.

    October 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  21. Debbie

    I am the mother of an openly gay son, I love my son. Knew he was gay when he was 5. Unfortunately, I didn't nurture him as I should, but today, I think he is a responsible member of our society who is accepted by his family. SHAME ON YOU!!!! Do you know how hard it is for gay children to live in our society? My son struggled with his sexuality until he was in his 20s. Shame on our society!!! Death should not be wished on ANYONE!!!! You should be placed in a situation where you are fearful for your child's life and then maybe you will know how these children feel everyday of their lives. SHAME ON YOU!!!!

    October 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  22. XRayTech

    This man is a prime example of what lurks behind a computer screen,, sometimes that makes the "real" person come out. To think he learned something from this event,, is a fantasy. he is only ashamed he got busted.

    October 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  23. Joe L

    When McCance said, "The words I used were unfortunate. I should've picked different ones..." I wanted Anderson to asked him how he would have worded those thoughts differently. He still doesn't know if he will use those words again, and still may disown his kids if they are gay, and he paints himself and his family as victims. This seems more like an inconvenience and less of an apology.

    October 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  24. Steve MacDonald


    October 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  25. carolo

    With so many young suicides now, why would someone who works on behalf of kids think it's OK to bully them as if he was a teenager and tell them to kill themselves? I hope he never finds another job!

    October 29, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  26. Robert

    What McCance posted on his FB page was indeed reprehensible but he did come out and apologize. I believe he sincerely regretted what he said and he even went so far as to acknowledge that his words and feelings came from a position of ignorance.

    What is telling is how your liveblog posters were so demonstrably unforgiving, cold or even hateful. It's a cruel but fitting irony that many of your viewers, rightfully upset by McCance's cruel words and epithets, were the very same embodiment of roiling hate.

    What was also equally disgraceful, when McCance revealed that his family was threatened with physical violence and hateful epithets, you seemed to validate these sentiments directed at him and his family. Anderson, hate does not negate hate. Your continued attempts to bait him into a debate or argument were continually met with his apologies and his rescinding attitude.

    Shame on you and your audience, Anderson. It's as though this entire sad event has taught us nothing.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  27. Vincent

    Good morning. How much we need to education about love everyone the way we are.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  28. Andi

    I'm sorry but I don't feel sorry for him. Feel sorry for his family though, but not him. And I don't buy his apology. Apologies these days are meaningless, if he really wants to show he's sorry he'll back his words with actions.

    I'm sure his kids must feel so loved knowing that their father would drop them in an instant if they were gay. Nothing says 'I love you' like putting restrictions on it.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  29. Kevin Cmaeron

    He says it was not his intention. Anderson, why did you not ask, "WHAT WAS YOUR INTENTION!"

    October 29, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  30. Anonymous

    I have lived in another state for many years but grew up in Pleasant Plains, AR and graduated from Midland High School. I do not know Mr. Mccance and do not agree with the words that he used. However, I definitely do not agree with the way that Anderson Cooper reported this story, exposing his name and the small town he is from live on CNN. It is a shame that his exercising his freedom of speech, while wrong and hateful, has led to death threats to his wife and children.

    October 29, 2010 at 10:29 am |