NSBA apologizes for letter linking rowdy school board meetings to domestic terrorism
The National School Boards Association apologized on Friday night for urging federal authorities to target unruly school board meetings, a missive that prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to make the much maligned decision to appeal to the FBI.
In a note to state affiliates, the NSBA board cited the September 29 letter to President Biden from NSBA President Viola M. Garcia and Acting Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven who raised the specter of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
“On behalf of the NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter,” the NSBA memo said. “There was no justification for some of the terms included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow consultation on a communication of this importance. We also apologize for the tension and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations. “
Rep. Elise Stefanik, Republican from New York, responded to the memo asking Mr. Garland to “immediately reverse the FBI’s targeting of parents as ‘national terrorists’,” while Senator Josh Hawley , Republican of Missouri, called on Mr. Garland to step down.
“It was a dangerous abuse of authority that seriously compromised the integrity of the Department of Justice and that of Garland. He should resign, ”Mr. Hawley tweeted.
Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, said after the apology was released that a “$ 19 million trade association has nothing on a bunch of crazy moms.”
The apology came after nearly 20 state school board associations decided to sever ties or distance themselves from the NSBA following its call for a federal response to actions that “could be the equivalent of ‘a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes’.
The letter, however, mainly cited reports of angry parents at controversial school board meetings. A parent who was arrested in June, Scott Smith, later said he sought to confront the Loudoun County Board of Directors over an alleged sexual assault against his daughter in a school bathroom.
Mr. Garland forbidden On Thursday, his decision to mobilize federal law enforcement resources under quiz from House Judiciary Committee Republicans who accused him of committing federal agents against parents raising objections, for example , critical race theory and mask mandates.
Mr. Garland insisted that “we do not investigate peaceful protests or the participation of parents in school board meetings.”
“We are only concerned about violence, threats of violence against school administrators, teachers, staff, people like your mother, a teacher, that’s what worries us,” he said. “We are concerned about this at all levels.”
AG #Garland must immediately reverse the FBI’s targeting of parents as “domestic terrorists” – an unconstitutional policy which the AG himself said was directed in response to the original letter for which the NSBA is now apologizing.
– Élise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) 23 October 2021
The NSBA memo also says the association has launched a formal review of its “processes and procedures” and that parents should have a role in making decisions about their children’s education.
“As we have reiterated since the letter was sent, we deeply appreciate not only the work of local school boards who make a significant contribution within our communities, but also the voice of parents, who should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about the education, health and safety of their children, ”said the association.