NSBA Apologizes For Calling Concerned Parents “Domestic Terrorists”
The National School Boards Association has apologized for a letter Attorney General Merrick Garland used to target parents as “national terrorists.”
“We regret and apologize for the letter,” the NSBA said in a statement. memorandum sent to members on Friday. “To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there is still important work to be done on this issue. However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.
The original letter, sent publicly to Biden administration officials after the organization worked with the Biden administration to craft its language, called on the federal government to take action against parents and citizens who “threaten” or “bully” school board representatives and education administrators. He said nothing about reports of some school officials engaging in the same behavior against parents.
“The NSBA believes that immediate assistance is needed to protect our students, school board members and educators who are at risk of acts of violence affecting interstate commerce due to threats to their districts, families and personal safety. “the statement said. original letter read. “… As these malicious acts, violence and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could amount to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
Up to 20 public school boards have since moved away from the NSBA in response to the letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Caroline, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.
Fourteen state school boards, including the one in Pennsylvania, said they were not alerted until the NSBA sent the letter. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association voted unanimously last week to leave the NSBA.
“The Pennsylvania School Boards Association was not consulted before the letter was sent by the National School Boards Association to President Biden. We were not asked to comment or discuss its content, ”said Annette Stevenson, director of communications for AOSP.
The Georgia School Boards Association said it had “not been consulted about this letter, that it had not provided information to the NSBA, and that it had not been made aware of the sending the letter, even though a Georgia school district was used as an example in the letter. Likewise, the executive board of the Idaho School Boards Association distanced itself from the NSBA statement, announcing that: “If we had been asked, we would easily have pointed out the misinterpretation of parents and clients in our communities as national terrorists who deserved a federal investigation. We want parents and clients to be engaged in our public schools – we’ve been looking for this for years. “
The initial letter from the NSBA served as the basis for Garland’s October 4 announces FBI would investigate what he called “A disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff. He also ordered the office to “facilitate discussion on strategies to counter threats” between national and local law enforcement.
“The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to deter these threats, identify them when they occur., and prosecute them where appropriate ”, Garland written in a memorandum sent to Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI. “In In the coming days, the Ministry will announce a series of measures intended to deal with the rise in criminal behavior against school personnel.
The directive came just five days after the NSBA sent its original letter calling the parents “domestic terrorists.” When testifying before Congress Thursday, Garland confirmed that the NSBA letter was the basis for his October 4 memorandum.
“Obviously the [school board] A letter, which was public and requested assistance from the Department of Justice, was brought to our attention, ”Garland said. “I read the letter in the newspapers. No one in the White House told me about the memo. “
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley called for Garland’s resignation on Friday, calling on the attorney general to use the FBI to monitor unprecedented school board meetings.
“Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without a legal basis and, we now know, based on misinformation he didn’t bother to verify,” Hawley said. “It was a dangerous abuse of authority that seriously compromised the integrity of the Department of Justice and that of Garland. He should resign.
Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without a legal basis and, we now know, based on misinformation he didn’t bother to verify. It was a dangerous abuse of authority that seriously compromised the integrity of the Department of Justice and that of Garland. He should resign. https://t.co/MXKN5j0L5g
– Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) 23 October 2021
According to e-mails obtained by Parents Defending Education, NSBA collaborated with White House officials weeks before writing the letter. The emails, reported by The Washington Free Beacon on Thursday, show that the White House reviewed the letter before it was released and was aware of specific wording referring to parents at school board meetings as “a form of domestic terrorism and crimes. hateful ”.
“A $ 19 million trade association has nothing on a bunch of crazy moms,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, said Friday.
At Thursday’s hearing, Garland acknowledged that his office did not begin investigating local allegations of violence and terrorism until after his letter was released by the NSBA. The letter does not cite any evidence, nor does it explain the categorization of the parents as “domestic terrorists.”
House Republicans have grilled Garland over his decision to mobilize the FBI against the parents.
“It concerns us that [your letter] was released just five days after the National School Board Association sent a letter to President Biden which called the concerned parents equivalent to “national terrorists and perpetrators of hate crimes,” Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson said. “Given the timing of it all, your memo appears to have been motivated by politics more than any urgent need for law enforcement. This concerns us and deserves an investigation.
“A parenting snitch line began five days after a left-wing political organization requested it,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said. “If it’s not political, I don’t know what it is.