"The founder of Overstock.com rejected the NAACP's demand for an apology Friday after an Internet video surfaced of him saying that Utah minorities who don't graduate from high school might as well be burned or thrown away.
Patrick Byrne's comments were posted on YouTube. The video clip was from a debate two weeks ago in Provo, where he was speaking in favor of vouchers, public aid for families sending kids to private schools. A statewide voucher program that would grant $500 to $3,000 per child based on family income is on the Utah ballot Nov. 6.
On the YouTube video clip, Byrne says: "Right now, 40 percent of Utah minorities are not graduating from high school. You may as well burn those kids. That's the end of their life. That's the end of their ability to achieve in this society if they do not get a high school education. You might as, just throw the kids away."
Byrne has made similar remarks in other debates. He said Friday he had no intention of apologizing and claimed his comments were taken out of context. "These folks have been selective in their editing," Byrne told The Associated Press. "I very clearly said the system is throwing away 40 percent of the minority kids because they're not graduating. I'm saying that I'm against throwing kids away. "People against vouchers are in favor of throwing the kids away," Byrne said.