The Ohio School Boards Association voted to leave the National School Boards Association after the NSBA sent a letter to the Biden administration urging them to use federal law enforcement and “domestic terrorism” laws to target parents who protest at school board meetings.
“The Board of Trustees’ decision was prompted by NSBA’s recent letter to President Joe Biden requesting federal intervention at local school board meetings,” OSBA Chief Executive Officer Rick Lewis confirmed in a statement.
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) October 26, 2021
The Ohio chapter not only condemned the NSBA’s letter as demonstrative of how “out of touch the national association is with the concerns of local school boards and the principle of local control” but also frowned upon the national chapter’s decision not to consult state associations before proceeding.
“We believe in the value of parental and community discussion at school board meetings, and there is tremendous value in allowing and encouraging the public to have meaningful input into the decision-making process,” Lewis said. “However, that participation should not come at the expense of interfering with the board’s ability to conduct its business or subjecting individual board members to threats of violence, abuse, or harassment. But dealing with such interference should be dealt with at the local level, not by federal officials.”
At least 21 states’ school board associations reported that they were not consulted before the NSBA sent its letter to the Biden administration.
Recently released emails obtained by Parents Defending Education through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that NSBA President Viola Garcia and CEO Chip Slaven conspired and exchanged information with the White House before releasing official demands for the Biden administration to target parents. The emails also show that the NSBA’s board of directors, much like the state school board associations that denounced the national organization over the letter, were not consulted about the plea before it was released to the public.
The NSBA released a statement last week expressing regret for sending the letter and even admitted that “there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
In a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday, Garland admitted that the basis for targeting and potentially charging parents concerned about what their children are learning in schools with domestic terrorism was the official letter from the NSBA, not real evidence. Garland is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.