A timely announcement from the U.S. Education Department yesterday. It says school districts that fail to protect gay students can lose federal dollars.
The letter said schools “must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring.”
I’d hope that the Midland, Ark. School District would conclude that “eliminating any hostile environment” would include an explanation/apology from School Board member Clint McCance, whose Facebook page essentially wished death to gay kids and who vowed to run off any gay kids in “his vicinity.” Also called for would be a rejection of such a view by other members of the School Board and an assurance from the school superintendent that such a hostile view isn’t tolerated in the Midland schools. I should add that if it develops that McCance’s words and feelings are exactly as they seem to have been expressed, of course he should resign from the School Board.
I reached him again at 4 p.m. today after a day in which local school officials bunkered up as worldwide reaction rained down in the tiny rural district near Batesville. He said, “I’m going to remain tight-lipped for now.” He hung up as I asked him if he planned to remain on the School Board.
What follows is the episodic development of the story today, starting early in the morning.