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PopWrapped | LGBT

Tennessee City Commissioner Bullies Gay Teen

Ashley Perna | PopWrapped Author

Ashley Perna

Updated 10/8/2015 7:35am
Tennessee City Commissioner Bullies Gay Teen | City Commissioner
Media Courtesy of Commercial Appeal

The City Commissioner of Lakeland, Tennessee, Clark Plunk, took to his Facebook page in order to make a series of hateful comments about a local teenaged boy, and the LGBT+ community as a whole. His post is in response to a the suspension of Lance Sanderson from Christian Brothers High School, after Sanderson asked if he could bring a same-sex date to a Homecoming dance. His request was denied, and Sanderson opted not to attend the dance. He was suspended regardless. 

Plunk is a City Commissioner and felt the need to weigh in on the situation, posting hateful comments partially directed to a teenager. Towleroad was able to obtain the full Facebook comment (Plunk's original spelling, grammatical, and moral errors are included):

It's a Christian school so i you don't like the rules don't go there. As usual you have one person trying to change the rules just for himself. I'm told by the alumni the gay kid is looking for publicity. I hate the term gay. It makes them sound like they are happy and 'Gay' And they want to call people that criticize them homophobes to make them sound mean. As a whole, gays are mean, cruel spiteful people with an axe to grind.

The kids love the school a hate their school is in the limelight over a gay kid and his gay boyfriend...This is not about a homo and his rights it's about a school that is loved by thousands and their memories and their right to keep their history and Christian values intact.

I would say let the little homo sue all he wants. The alumni of CBHS will meet him dollar for dollar and lawyer for lawyer. This is a threat to our values, our Christian values. Everyone shudders when they homosexuals say the word sue. They are vicious spiteful people.

The comments were made on the private Facebook page of another Lakeland resident, who has since apologized to Sanderson for allowing her page to become Plunk's "platform for hate speech". 

When questioned by a local television news station after the fact, Plunk stood by his statements, saying only that "maybe I didn't say it in the right way". Personally, I'm not sure there is a "right way" to bully a high-school student and belittle an entire community at the same time.

Sanderson wrote his own post responding to the situation, preferring to employ grace over spite:

I have been shown a few intolerant comments that were made against myself and other LGBT people. I have nothing but forgiveness for the people who wrote or agree with these comments. 

I recognize that we all have different beliefs and were taught from varying viewpoints. I hope that individuals and the community as a whole will use this as an opportunity to learn about other people's beliefs. I know that through education and acceptance, we will move forward as a stronger community.

Plunk remains in office and Sanderson remains suspended. While other Lakeland officials are not supporting Plunk's comments, nothing else has been done to correct Sanderson's schooling situation. Mayor Wyatt Bunker said that he doesn't think it's "just" a "Lakeland issue", though it's unclear if he was speaking of the rampant homophobia or the bullying of a teenager over social media by a city official. 

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