Utah school board member Natalie Cline could face censorship for social media post about LGBTQ seminar students
Natalie Cline, an outspoken conservative member of the state’s school board, could face official censorship in her post after posting a post criticizing LGBTQ students at a Utah high school – this which also led some to threaten violence.
Cline shared a photo on her Facebook page this week with a photo of a pride flag in a seminary building, where students who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can attend classes during the school day. Most high schools in the state offer the faith-related curriculum.
In her post, Cline shows a welcome sign to Layton High School Seminary. It reads: “If you are LGBTQIA +, welcome to the seminar! “
Cline identified the school by name and wrote, “It’s time to make some phone calls. The world is too much with us.
The elected member of the Utah State Board of Education, which represents the southwestern part of Salt Lake County and a segment of Utah County, has previously declared her disapproval of any sign of acceptance of LGBTQ people in public schools .
His latest post, however, sparked a new fire this time around, shortly after an apostle at the LDS Church criticized members of the faith – especially those at Church-sponsored Brigham Young University. – who oppose the teachings on same-sex marriage. .
In a speech that created his own stir, the apostle urged faculty and staff to use their intellectual “muskets” in defense of the Church, especially “the doctrine of the family and … marriage as union. of a man and a woman. “
Cline’s message echoed that call, calling up the seminary pride flag, and caught the attention of some members of the faith who are part of the right-wing #DezNat movement within the church, which has taken over. his message. One person shared a screenshot of Cline’s post with the comment: “It’s time to pull out our muskets.”
On Tuesday, after the post was shared widely on social media, the Utah Board of Education leadership released a statement condemning Cline’s comments and saying her post does not represent the school board.
He also notes possible discipline for Cline: “We are reviewing this post for possible violations of board policies.”
The three executives of the board – Mark Huntsman, Cindy Davis and Laura Belnap – have already released two more statements against Cline in the eight months since she took her seat in January, winning a margin of 38 percentage points to represent District 11. This is the strongest comment to date.
The public body has 15 members, who serve four-year terms and oversee public education policy for K-12 schools in Utah.
Management previously noted that, because this is an elected position, they do not have the authority to remove Cline from his seat. But, if it turns out that she broke the rules of propriety for members, she can be censored or the board can vote to formally disapprove of her comments. This is the most likely next step.
The management statement notes that board members are allowed to freely express their thoughts as private citizens. But in social media posts, they are required to include a note that this does not represent the board’s point of view.
After being first called to the board in February for her social media posts, Cline has started doing so. In her post this week, however, she omitted that warning.
Board management notes that in their statement, saying their post “contains no statement that the post is his personal opinion and should not be attributed to the board.”
Leaders note that the message does not reflect the positions of the board, which has voted in recent months to denounce racism and support equity and inclusion in schools.
They add: “The board of directors does not tolerate rhetoric that opposes these public positions or that inspires any type of hate speech against students. “
Cline did not respond to The Salt Lake Tribune’s requests for comment on Wednesday.
The original message also appears to be deleted. She left one, however, that sends a similar message. On August 18, she shared a photo of another pride flag at another school. She wrote: “Does your child feel ‘safe’ and ‘included’ at school? Some claim this is the intention, but is it true? This is an important discussion because symbols like this are found in most, if not all schools in our state. “
This includes this note at the top, “No official position from the USBE board.”
Several groups criticized Cline for his post, including Equality Utah. In a statement, the group’s executive director, Troy Williams, suggested that the board member’s “obsession with LGBTQ youth” is “disturbing.”
“She has been leading a one-woman crusade against our community since she was elected to the Utah State Board of Education,” Williams wrote. “His dangerous rhetoric continues to incite hysteria and moral panic among parents in Utah.”
Williams also called church apostle Jeffrey Holland for his statement, as well as Gregory Smith, a former North Ogden city council candidate for adding Cline’s post.
Smith had shared Cline’s original post on the seminar on Twitter and added the menacing comment about the musket release. He also noted: “The time for the bang bang is running out!”
On Wednesday, in a conversation with The Tribune, he apologized. “I’m an idiot,” he said. “I am clearly an idiot. … And I’m so sorry I posted it.
Smith deleted his account about six hours later, with a flood of backlash calling him “dangerous” and “terrible.” He said he would never be on Twitter again.
“I don’t like pride flags and I don’t think they belong to church buildings,” he added. “But I think LGBTQ people should be welcome in church. I know it is particularly difficult for them.
He continues, “I want them to be welcome at the seminar. I don’t want to use a musket. I made a stupid joke. I am stupid. I have no defense.
Smith, who did not end up on the board ballot after finishing fifth among seven candidates for the seat, has previously been criticized for his links to #DezNat.
DezNat is a movement of loosely affiliated, often anonymous social media users who defend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This sometimes results in the lagging behind of former church members and members of the LGBTQ community. The term DezNat is the abbreviation of Deseret Nation or Nationalism.
The church has previously said it is unaffiliated and does not endorse #DezNat. Top church leaders have repeatedly condemned racism and white supremacy.
Cline did not use the hashtag. But she’s already garnered attention twice for her social media posts.
This included in February when she called LGBTQ students “gender confused” and called the Black Lives Matter movement “indoctrination.” And again, in February, she attacked a teacher on social media – publicly posting the teacher’s name, the school she works at and accusing him, without providing any evidence, of explaining to the students that “communism is better than our form of government”.