At an Arkansas school board meeting Tuesday, where members passed several anti-LGBTQ+ policies, a man was caught on camera saying LGBTQ+ people “deserve death.”
Hundreds of residents expressed their opinion before a vote on anti-LGBTQ+ policies, which drew a solid but mixed response.
During the Conway school board meeting, Cal Paulson, a local preacher, urged support for the policies, explaining that God loves everyone, but disapproves of the practices and moral standards of LGBTQ+ people, the Log Cabin Democrat, a local newspaper, reports.
A clip of Paulson’s comments has gone viral on TikTok, having racked up thousands of views.
“I would like to say that the LGBT community has suppressed the truth about God. They seek to bring their judgment against everyone who does not agree with their gender values. They do this in order to get you to support their self-centered lifestyles,” Paulson said. “They invent ways of doing evil. But let me remind you that those that do such things deserve death. The LGBTQ community not only continues to do these very things but also approves of those who practice them.”
Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert expressed support for the policies during the public comments portion of the meeting.
“Just because people get loud and demand we support their opinion does not change the truth or the facts. God made males and females, and the Conway school board is doing the right thing here tonight,” Rapert said.
Conway Public Schools, which has about 10,000 students, does not endorse the remarks in the video, which has thousands of views on TikTok, according to Heather Kendrick, a district spokesperson, NBC News reports.
“In an attempt to allow public voices to be heard, the Conway Public Schools Board of Education allows patrons to speak for a specified amount of time to comment on current agenda items,” Kendrick wrote. “While the Conway School Board appreciates the insight and perspectives given in these comments, the personal narratives of individual patrons do not represent the school district or school board’s feelings or stances on issues.”
During the meeting, the board approved a ban on two LGBTQ-themed books and anti-transgender policies. Under the district’s anti-transgender policy, all schools must assign multiple-occupancy restrooms and changing rooms to students based on their gender at birth.
School policies also require schools to provide “reasonable accommodations,” such as single-occupancy restrooms or changing rooms for those students who request them. According to another board policy, student trip hotel rooms must be assigned exclusively to males or females according to their gender assigned at birth.
The books that board members decided to remove from school libraries are Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out and Felix Ever After, a love story that features a transgender protagonist.
A district committee reviewed several books previously challenged by district personnel and recommended they remain on the shelves, according to the Log Cabin Democrat. However, the board overruled that recommendation and decided to remove the titles entirely.
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