Palm Beach County's school board chairman has apologized for referring to gays and lesbians as a "protected species."

During an April 5 meeting, Tom Lynch used the phrase while discussing the school board's anti-harassment policies. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council demanded an apology and later called for Lynch's resignation.

On Tuesday, Lynch sent an e-mail to the group apologizing for his remarks.

"The purpose in my remarks was in no way meant to be demeaning to any person or group," Lynch wrote. "I was actually stating a premise that procedures needed to be in place to help protect any and all children that are being harassed or bullied.

"Again, if anyone was offended by this misunderstanding, I sincerely apologize."

Council founder Rand Hoch said the apology still fell short.

"I just don't think he understands how dehumanizing his comments were to gay and lesbian people and how hurtful they were to gay and lesbian students," Hoch said.