A Michigan school board member, who has been banned from Facebook multiple times for offensive posts, is resisting calls to resign, Toledo Blade reports.
Todd Bruning, a board member of the Bedford Public School District, has a simple message for anyone who doesn’t care for his social media history: “If you don’t like it, don’t vote for me.”
Bruning owns a gun shop, and on the front of the building is a sign bearing the Confederate battle flag, with a motto written over it: “I will not censor myself to comfort your ignorance.” And indeed, censor himself he has not, at least, when it comes to Facebook.
The Toledo Blade describes Bruning’s Facebook posts as anti-Muslim, or anti-LGBTQ, or racist. Some have included derogatory stereotypes about black youths, others have demeaned people from other countries, transgender individuals, and Muslim lawmakers. Some posts included photos of a monkey dressed up in anti-Barack Obama gear.
If the attitudes that have informed his social media posts have informed his activities on the school board, his colleagues haven’t noticed. Carl Shultz, Bedford superintendent, says that Bruning’s voting history with the district is entirely mundane. He almost always moves to vote yes on votes (most votes within the district are approved unanimously) or moves to second a motion.
“Since I’ve been here, I have not seen a single vote by Mr. Bruning or anyone otherwise that has risen an eyebrow… It appears he uses social media for personal use and anything on there is his personal views,” Shultz said.
Bedford's Todd Bruning said he will continue to live by the motto: “I will not censor myself to comfort your ignorance.” https://t.co/FOdthtMXm7
— The Blade (@toledonews) September 6, 2019
Bruning, for his part, says the same thing: that there is no correlation between how he carries out his school board duties and how he expresses himself in his personal life.
“None of this even comes into play,” he says.
Still, some members of his constituency are concerned that his views might play a role in how he governs the local school district.
“It makes me wonder how he can fairly represent all of the students of Bedford with views like this,” said one parent, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
Indeed, Shultz has been shown Bruning’s Facebook posts by more than one parent who has asked him to take action. That’s not possible, he says; there’s no procedure in place for a member of the school board to be removed, save for at the ballot box.
Shultz also says that no students have complained to him about Bruning.