A Man Said LGBTQ People ‘Deserve Death’ at a School Board Meeting in Arkansas

At the meeting, the board approved a set of policies that force students and staff to use bathrooms according to their gender assigned at birth.
Laura Larson/TikTok

A speaker at a school board meeting in Arkansas told a room full of students that their LGBTQ classmates “deserve death” and that their minds are “depraved.”

“God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what they should not be doing,” the speaker said. “But let me remind you that those who do such things deserve death.”

The man took to the stage on Tuesday to voice support for policies that would roll back rights for trans students, immediately after a trans student spoke out against those policies in front of a crowd of teenagers and parents in Conway, Arkansas. The man also shared deeply anti-LGBTQ beliefs.


During the meeting, the board approved a set of policies that force students and staff to use bathrooms according to their gender assigned at birth and also require trans students to bunk with members of their assigned gender at birth on overnight trips.

Parents are now speaking out against the anti-trans policies as well as the school board’s alleged double standard: They say the board has allowed people with anti-trans views to speak out without repercussions, while parents who oppose anti-trans policies have been silenced. 

“There was no need to target kids with these new policies. No problems had ever been reported,” Anne Goldberg, a parent in the school district, told VICE News. “Members who proposed these policies and voted to approve them deliberately created an environment for trans kids to be singled out and made to hear threats from adults.”

In a statement to VICE News, the Conway School district said it’s aware of the video that’s circulating online. “We want to be clear that CPSD does not endorse these comments or any comments made by patrons during public comments,” the statement says.

The board added that it believes its new policies are in the “best interest of all Conway students,” and that it “took all views and perspectives into account” when making Tuesday night’s decisions.

“I am disgusted that those words were allowed without a single member pushing back,” another parent, Jenny Wallace, told VICE News. “My heart is broken for the students who had to sit through those hate speeches. My heart is broken for the parents and for the teachers who feel helpless.”


Wallace is in a group of parents speaking against the board’s implementation of policies that target trans students. She said when the group spoke out at a previous board meeting, officials threatened to remove them. 

Some parents against the anti-trans policies yelled “shame” during Tuesday’s meeting and were escorted out by police, she said.

Meanwhile, those in favor of anti-trans policies haven’t faced the same repercussions, according to Wallace. The parent of a high school senior alleged that the school board has remained silent while people in the crowd and various speakers have used homophobic language—words like “abomination,” “groomers,” and “pedophiles”—when referring to LGBTQ people. 

State senator Jason Rapert was also in attendance on Tuesday, according to local news reports. 

“For the first time in my entire representation in the Arkansas Senate have I ever felt led to come and speak at a school board meeting. I am proud of the school board members,” Rapert said. 

Conway School District did not immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment.

There are plans to implement even more restrictions on students and teachers in the school district, including limitations on lessons that deal with “social justice” and “diversity,” according to a school board document reviewed by VICE News. 


The eight-page document, obtained by parents through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with VICE News, proposes to prohibit any discussion of “divisive concepts, gender identity, sexual orientation, or government-sanctioned or -facilitated racism.” 

Penalties for school staff include being placed on administrative leave and even termination.

The proposal also lists more than a hundred banned terms, including “white privilege,” “intersectionality,” and “anti-Blackness.”

For Goldberg, the board has created a “hostile environment.” 

“The school board made it easier for people to spread hatred against our most vulnerable children,” Goldberg said. 

This is only the latest example in a trend sweeping across the U.S. School boards across the country have implemented anti-trans policies and banned books about LGBTQ rights, race and racism, gender, and abortion. Just last month, a report found that Texas has banned more books than any other state, with 801 books, including “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which are banned in 22 districts. Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, has tried to implement anti-trans policies across the state’s public schools, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law in 2021 that barred trans girls from playing on all-girls public sports teams.  

Follow Anya and Evy on Twitter. 

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.