updated 10/29/2010 8:11:25 AM ET 2010-10-29T12:11:25

The head of an anti-bullying group has applauded the decision of an Arkansas school board member to resign after posting on Facebook that he thinks gay youths should kill themselves.

Clint McCance, a member of the Midland school board in Pleasant Plains, about 70 miles northeast of Little Rock, announced his resignation Thursday night on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." He said he was quitting "to help my school, my community," though he added that he might run again for the board at some point.

"The only thing I can do is extend my apologies for my poor speech," he said. "I don't wish death on anyone."

McCance had scoffed in a Facebook posting at a campaign asking supporters to wear purple Oct. 20 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 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."

In a follow-up response to Facebook users who criticized his comments, McCance wrote that he liked that gay people "can't procreate (and) I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other AIDS and die."

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Jowharah Sanders, founder and executive director of the anti-bullying group National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment, told The Associated Press that she was glad McCance was resigning because that means his sentiments will no longer represent authority in his community.

Several gay rights groups had condemned the Facebook posting, including the Human Rights Campaign, which launched its own Facebook page calling for McCance's resignation.

McCance did not respond to a phone message left Thursday by The Associated Press at his carpet cleaning business, and there was no answer at a number listed for his home.

Facebook is no friend to gay-bashing school official

In his interview on CNN, McCance said the language he had used on Facebook was "too harsh ... too emotional." He also said he and his family had received "thousands of phone calls and hate mail" and that he had sent his family out of the state to protect them.

Sanders noted the irony of that statement.

"His cyber-bullying has affected his family," Sanders said.

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The Midland district disavowed McCance's sentiments in a statement Wednesday, and Superintendent Dean Stanley echoed that in a letter Thursday to 1998 Midland graduate R. Anthony Turner, who wrote the school board a letter calling attention to McCance's Facebook posting.

Stanley's letter to Turner said McCance "does not represent the board or speak for the board when he posts on his Facebook page."

"Every student life is equally valuable without regard to race, sex, or sexual orientation, religious belief or affiliation," Stanley wrote. "Everyone really is someone special and deserves to be treated with care and respect."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Outrage over school official's anti-gay remarks

  1. Closed captioning of: Outrage over school official's anti-gay remarks

    >>> have never heard of pleasant plains , arkansas , or midland school board member clint mccants, you're about to. he protested the idea of spirit day, a national day of remembrance for the gay and lesbian students who have recently been victims of bullying and in some cases committed suicide . so here is what mccants wrote. quote, seriously, they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide ? the only way i'm wearing it for them is if they all commit suicide . i can't believe people have gotten this stupid. they sinned and killed theirselves because of their sin. really people? he's taken down his facebook page and the school district has taken down all the names of its board members . max brantley is the editor of "the arkansas times " and he joins me live to talk about this. you spoke to clint mccants. how did that conversation go?

    >> i spoke to him briefly this morning. i reached him on his cell phone . he was calm, surprisedly given that he said he'd had several hundred phone calls . i think he's getting a great deal of blowback from what he said, deservedly. he wouldn't comment. i tried seven or eight different ways to get him to say something, to get him to see if he regretted what he'd written, if he really believed what he'd written. he said he wanted to talk to his lawyer. he said he'd have something to say later today. he said he has a family to consider. he has two young daughters. i think there's been some ugly blowback. and so he perhaps feels a little bit threatened. he dead one thing that was interesting to me. he said i have a family to consider. there are millions of people that have families to consider with gay kids that worry about their safety in schools and you've got a school board member that isn't very concerned about it.

    >> other postings talked about the fact that he does have a family and that he wouldn't welcome his own kids in his home if they revealed a sexual crisis or an identity crisis regarding their sexuality. my understanding is the school right now is refusing to comment on this. has it reached the levels of where they -- they've gotten lawyers? do you have a sense that they're circling the wagons before they want to respond? it would seem pretty common sense to a lot of people to respond to this as saying, you know what, this is not what we're going to tolerate when we try to talk to kids about not committing suicide , about not bullying each other, and we've got a school board member that takes to facebook and writes this.

    >> old ways die hard , particularly in rural arkansas . i wouldn't be surprised if it deep down, there's not a great deal of that sort of christian church -based, believe it or not, belief that homosexuality is wrong and should be suppressed. i can't believe at the same time there would be many people that would endorse what clint mccants said. you can't get through on the phone to the school district . the e-mail accounts are overflowing with responses. nobody is returning calls. the superintendent has ducked out for the rest of the week. they've taken the school board members' names off the website. i think they damaged themselves by this. they ought to do damage control. the state education dem has already issued a statement saying they don't condone this point of view. clearly the school needs to be a welcoming place. just yesterday, the u.s. education department said that they were going to endorforce rules that made sure that schools were not a hostile environment for gay kids. if a school board member says he'll actively run off gay kids, you have a hostile environment for gay kids. the statistics are that there are gay children in pleasant plains , arkansas , whether they are out or not out is beside the point. that school district and that school board member needs to do something to say that kids are safe in that school.

    >> for everybody watching this, this is a school district that gets federal money. tax dollars from this government. i know you say it's in arkansas , but arkansas is part of the united states . and they're getting our federal tax dollars. explain to us what the feeling is about the fact that mccants is going to stay on the board or not stay on the board? i understand it's not a position where you can get fired because he's elected.

    >> the only way he can be removed is being recalled from the office or being beaten in an election campaign. there are a couple of groups that have sprung up with some protest activities just in the last few hours. they've called for his immediate resignation. there's one group that's been very active in gay rights politics in arkansas that is promising a demonstration at the school district offices tomorrow morning . i think that would be the best thing to put a quick end to this, but, you know, i -- as i say, people in certain positions are sometimes very reluctant to admit mistakes.

    >> max, we appreciate you talking about the reporting that you're doing there. max brantley, sir, thanks so much.


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