Board of Education to investigate Cline post on Racial Healing Group

Sep 23, 2021, 4:33 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education will investigate a social media post related to racial healing from outspoken board member Natalie Cline.

The Facebook post featured an image of a flyer advertising a discussion on racial healing at Hillcrest High School.

Cline’s comment indicates her concern that the topics of discussion by the group equate to Critical Race Theory.

The post Cline shared about the racial healing group discussion included the name and email address of a teacher at Hillcrest High. Sharing that information may violate the bylaws of the Utah State Board of Education.

cline racial healing

The full post shared by Natalie Cline originally included contact information and the name of a specific teacher. KSL blacked out that information. Photo: Facebook

What is a ‘racial healing group?’

The group would have discussed concepts in a book called The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical activities to help you challenge privilege, confront systemic racism, and engage in collective healing, written by Anneliese A. Singh. 

“It’s not a class that is offered,” said Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney, “it is simply an optional activity if students wish to participate and they receive their parents’ permission.”

Haney also said the district alerted the school’s principal to the post.

“We wanted to provide support to the employee, just in case he started to get an increase in phone calls and emails,”

Cline’s Facebook post about the discussion reads, “This is CRT.” She also encouraged parents to look into the the book.

What is Critical Race Theory?

The American Bar Association describes Critical Race Theory as a practice that “critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.”

The theory’s proponents argue we should acknowledge how past racist policies may continue to affect communities of color. Typically, it is a college or graduate-level discussion. No Utah K-12 school currently teaches the theory. Opponents argue it teaches children to hate America, or to feel shame or guilt over who they are. 

Utah lawmakers approved a resolution prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools in May, though 19 lawmakers abstained from the vote.

Cline previously reprimanded

Three weeks ago, the Utah State Board of Education reprimanded Cline over another post on social media about LGBTQIA+ youth. 

In the letter, the board said Cline’s “divisive rhetoric has repeatedly marginalized the LGBTQIA+ community – students, faculty, and parents.”

The post that prompted the reprimand featured a pride flag on a welcome sign for a Latter-day Saint Seminary building at Layton High School. Cline included a caption that read, “The world is too much with us.” Unlike other posts on her page, that one did not include a disclaimer indicating it did not represent the views of the school board. 

At the time, the board said the Davis School District superintendent and staff brought extra security to Layton High amid concerns about possible violence. 

In February, 2021, Democratic lawmakers at Utah’s Capitol said Cline “should be held accountable” for rhetoric they described as “completely contrary to shared values about equal opportunity and inclusion that unify Utahns across the political spectrum.”

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Board of Education to investigate Cline post on Racial Healing Group