Utah school board member censured for questioning teenager’s gender

The Utah Legislature voted Thursday to censure a conservative state school board member after she questioned a high school basketball player’s gender on a Facebook post earlier this month, eliciting threats against the girl and calls for the board member’s resignation.

Both legislative chambers passed a resolution condemning and censuring Utah State Board of Education member Natalie Cline. The resolution states that Cline’s actions “violate the moral and ethical standards expected of an elected official, particularly one charged with the duty to support our children in public education.”

The measure received unanimous support in the Senate after passing the House earlier Thursday. It was later signed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, who along with Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson denounced Cline’s actions last week saying she had “embarrassed the state.”

The decision comes a day after the state school board approved its own resolution to censure Cline.

The board said Cline will be stripped of her committee assignments, and be prohibited from attending meetings and placing items on the board’s agenda. The board has also asked Cline to resign by Feb. 19.

“The Board would like to extend its deepest apologies to those harmed by this conduct, in particular thestudent who was targeted because of Member Cline’s post,” the board said in a statement. “No individual, especially a child, should be subject to such comments and judgement. We hope that the actions taken today can provide support for the student and the family.”

‘Crucial in daily life’: Florida barring gender changes on driver’s license puts trans residents at risk, critics say

What did Natalie Cline post?

Cline, who had previously come under investigation for inflammatory comments about LGBTQ students, posted on Facebook last week photos of a high school girls’ basketball team in Salt Lake County and falsely suggested that one of the athletes is transgender, writing: “Girls’ basketball…”

After learning the student-athlete was not transgender, Cline deleted the post and apologized for provoking the dogpile of comments criticizing and threatening the girl. But the board member also defended her intent, saying “we live in strange times when it is normal to pause and wonder if people are what they say they are because of the push to normalize transgenderism in our society.”

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Cline argued the state school board was taking away her right to represent her constituents without due process. She said the board moved “so quickly” that she did not have enough time to read all the materials and prepare for the hearing.

The board concluded that Cline had violated its policies and bylaws that require members to respect the privacy of students, and uphold state educator standards in areas of conduct and ethics.

The board’s resolution noted that Cline allowed negative comments about the girl to remain on her Facebook page while comments in support of the student were deleted, which together “appeared to constitute cyberbullying as defined” in Utah law.

‘A second mom’: Some LGBTQ youth look to aunts for emotional support, companionship and housing stability

Resolution is a public reprimand

Although the state Legislature and school board have publicly reprimanded Cline, the resolutions carry no real punishment.

Cline’s term ends in November and she has filed to run for reelection. She has not suggested she would resign despite state officials’ calls for Cline to do so.

In a letter published Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune, the girl’s parents urged for the board member’s impeachment.

“Ms. Cline did the very thing we teach our children not to do — she blasted social media without fact-checking, which ultimately led to a barrage of hateful and despicable comments that were directed at our daughter that lasted for more than 16 hours,” the letter said. “It was one of the most painful things we’ve had to endure.”

State Democrats have also pushed Republican legislative leaders to punish Cline more harshly, either by impeaching her or by allowing the state school board to impeach her — which has no power or authority to unseat an elected official.

Cox said he thinks the board’s censure will have the same impact as impeachment.

“The vast majority of Utahns agree that Natalie Cline’s behavior was unacceptable,” Cox said in a statement Thursday. “I’ve spoken with the student’s parents and I’m heartbroken for this family. We agree with the actions of both the State Board of Education and Legislature, and we hope the voters will hold her equally accountable this fall.”

Contributing: The Associated Press


Denial of responsibility! Pedfire is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment