In what can only be described as a tactic to suppress dissent, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and U.S. attorneys to meet with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders in every federal judicial district in the next 30 days. What is the threat to the homeland requiring this urgent response? Parents are objecting to critical race theory and other left-wing curricula in their children’s classrooms. From Garland’s memorandum:
Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation’s nearly 14,000 public school districts. To this end, I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.
Garland’s memorandum follows a letter from the National School Board Association to President Joe Biden equating parent protests about everything from masks to curriculum as a form of domestic terrorism. NSBA President Viola Garcia alleges that an increasing number of threats against schoolchildren, staff, school boards, and facilities but only cites articles about contentious school board meetings in her hysterical letter. PJ Media’s Megan Fox has a detailed analysis of these alleged “threats” here.
The purpose of Garland’s memo is to chill dissent. A line from the memorandum says it all: “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.” Any credible threat of violence to anyone involved in this debate should be investigated and adjudicated locally. There is no reason for federal involvement in local politics other than to scare parents who dissent from progressive orthodoxy.
Further, intimidation is in the eye of the beholder. If you are a school board member intimidated by groups of parents, sometimes large ones, attending meetings to criticize you vehemently, then quit. If watching parents organize to replace you is intimidating, tough. As an elected official, you can either listen to your constituents at meetings or at the ballot box. What these school boards really fear is that the offensive content taught to our children will show up in viral videos.
Parent activists in viral videos have shoved some of the most offensive content taught to our children into full public view. They have read sexually explicit content from classrooms at these meetings. They call out the divisive nature of critical race theory. It should be a dialogue, but Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe summed up the perspective of the progressive left in a recent debate. “I am not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision… I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
A web search for stories about parents physically attacking school board members produces a myriad of stories about vocal criticism in public meetings from large groups of parents. Yet, at least one group of district employees and activists in Loudon County, Va., conspired to dox, hack, harass and smear the parents who opposed critical race theory. A Fairfax County PTA leader said that opponents of critical race theory should die—to applause from the crowd. The National Education Association sued a Rhode Island mother who had to submit hundreds of FOIA requests to get information on the lessons taught in her children’s classrooms. But according to Garland, parents objecting to racialized and sexualized curriculum are the only problem.
Republican governors must reject the federal intrusion into state and local law enforcement. No state police organization should welcome these federal investigations. Likewise, local sheriffs should refuse to stop constitutionally protected speech at public meetings. Garland’s order to the U.S. attorneys and the FBI represents politicized federal overreach that local and state leaders must reject.
After interviewing dozens of parents and community members involved in groups objecting to politicized curricula in schools, I’ve discovered that their goals are simple: In addition to teaching skills like reading, math, and the scientific method, they want local schools to reflect the values of their community. If their current school boards refuse to listen, they will replace them with new members. That is not domestic terrorism. It’s local politics.