The National School Boards Association has issued an apology over a letter written earlier this month to President Joe Biden in which the organization suggested some parental behaviors by parents attending local school board meetings as “domestic terrorism.”
“As you all know, there has been extensive media and other attention recently around our letter to President Biden regarding threats and acts of violence against school board members,” the NSBA noted in its memo. “We wanted to write to you directly to address this matter.”
“On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter,” the memo continued, adding that “there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
The apology comes on the heels of a report by the Washington Free Beacon that indicates the organization may have been coordinating with the Biden White House:
Emails obtained by watchdog group Parents Defending Education show the White House asked the association to list examples of parents who had engaged in violence at local school board meetings across the country. In its letter, the association cited several examples of violent outbursts at school board meetings, and suggested the acts were domestic terrorism or hate crimes. Five days later, the Justice Department formed a task force of officials from the national security division and civil rights divisions and FBI agents to monitor school board meetings.
Breaking: In the wake of yesterday’s @FreeBeacon report, National School Board Association announces “we regret and apologize for the letter” to Biden admin characterizing concerned parents as potentially domestic terrorists pic.twitter.com/3RBufvWqAN
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) October 23, 2021
The interactions between the White House and the association have sparked allegations that the two colluded to justify federal action to monitor school board meetings. Parent groups have accused the Biden administration of stifling parents who oppose mask mandates and the increasingly left-wing curricula at America’s schools.
According to the emails, some board directors were not comfortable with the tone of the initial letter.
John Halkias wrote that the letter “used terms that were extreme, and asked for action by the Federal Government that many of us would not request.”
The letter caused a great deal of consternation among Republicans and parental advocacy organizations.
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat. 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 from NSBA President Viola Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven, dated Oct. 1, began.
“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. However, there also must be safeguards in place to protect public schools and dedicated education leaders as they do their jobs,” the letter noted further.
The organization also wrote that “immediate assistance is required to protect our students, school board members, and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety,” adding the “acts of malice, violence, and threats” may constitute “a form of domestic terrorism.”
The letter spurred the Justice Department to announce that U.S. attorneys and the FBI would be working with local law enforcement to investigate complaints against parents.
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”
Last week during congressional testimony, however, Garland denied that the department was not focused on ‘terrorism.’
“That is not what the memorandum is about at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘PATRIOT Act,’” he said.
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Author: Jonathan Davis
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