National School Boards Association Reviews Letter Comparing Parents to Domestic Terrorists

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Last year, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) penned a letter to the Department of Justice in which it urged the administration to target parents who dissent from left-wing educational initiatives as “domestic terrorists.”

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“The National School Boards Association (NSBA) respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” the letter read in part.

“Local school board members want to hear from their communities on important issues and that must be at the forefront of good school board governance and promotion of free speech,” it continued. “However, there also must be safeguards in place to protect public schools and dedicated education leaders as they do their jobs.”

And, of course, the letter went from the NSBA’s lips to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s ears. Even after the NSBA apologized for the letter, we learned that the FBI was actively investigating “threats” against school boards. (You might be shocked to learn that a look into the “threats” came up empty. Then again, you might not.)

We also learned that Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona was the driving force behind the letter from the NBSA to Garland and the DOJ. On top of that, as my PJ Media colleague Robert Spencer wrote in January, “Not only has it now been revealed that Cardona asked for this letter, but Fox also reported that ‘previous emails had revealed that the NSBA was in contact with the White House and Justice Department in the weeks before it publicly sent the letter.’”

Not only has it now been revealed that Cardona asked for this letter, but Fox also reported that “previous emails had revealed that the NSBA was in contact with the White House and Justice Department in the weeks before it publicly sent the letter.”

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Fox News reports that the NBSA conducted its own review of the letter, and CEO and executive director John Heim said in a statement that the correspondence goes against the association’s “core commitments to parent engagement, local control, and nonpartisanship.”

“The sentiments shared in the letter do not represent the views or position of the NSBA,” Heim said. “The NSBA does not seek or advocate for federal law enforcement intervention at local school board meetings.”

The NSBA’s investigation uncovered weeks of contact between members of the NSBA staff and various officials within the Biden administration, including Mary Wall, a senior advisor to the president.

The report from the NSBA claims that it didn’t find evidence that Cardona had a hand in requesting the letter, but it did reveal correspondence between Cardona and Chip Slaven, who was interim CEO of the organization at that time.

The NSBA’s report points out that Slaven penned the letter as a “response to the growing tensions at local school board meetings made manifest by the divide in public opinion in the then-ongoing debate about when and how public-school students should return to in-person instruction” as the COVID-19 pandemic began to subside.

Within a week of the letter, Garland had begun to unleash the federal law enforcement apparatus onto parents. He issued a memo on Oct. 4, 2021, that kicked off “a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

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Three days later, Wall emailed Slaven to tell him that “we have your back, and we’re exploring every avenue we can.”

The backlash against Garland and his tactics and the NSBA came as quickly as the DOJ’s response to the letter. Parents’ groups called for Garland to resign, and several state school board organizations removed themselves from the NSBA.

Heim stated that many staff members and board members at the NSBA were unaware of the letter until it had gone out, and that’s a problem for the organization.

“Sending the letter without full Board approval highlighted a concerning lack of internal process and accountability and harmed the mission of our organization,” he said. “While the events as recounted in the review are unfortunate, there are a number of important takeaways that will help our organization as we move forward.”

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