As part of a new investigation into the National School Boards Association, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee are requiring the NSBA to hand over all documents and communications between the association, the Department of Justice, and the Biden administration by Nov. 10.
“We are investigating the troubling attempts by the Department of Justice and the White House to use the heavy hand of federal law enforcement to target concerned parents at local school board meetings and chill their protected First Amendment activity,” said a letter signed by 19 Republican members of Congress. “Because you are the officers of the NSBA’s board of directors, which exercises ‘supervision, control, and direction of the affairs of the Association,’ we respectfully request your assistance with our investigation.”
The letter comes less than a month after Attorney General Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to confront what he called a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” Garland has since admitted that his evidence for the spike was the NSBA letter, which begged the federal government to use “domestic terrorism” laws to go after concerned parents.
The NSBA’s letter was sent after the association colluded with Biden administration officials in crafting it. On Oct. 2, NSBA President Viola Garcia confirmed that the organization had “been engaged with the White House and Department of Education … for several weeks now.” Although the NSBA walked back its original letter after intense backlash and expressed “regret” for inappropriate language, the association still has not released details about its correspondence with the White House.
“We regret and apologize for the letter,” the NSBA board of directors said in a memorandum to members last week. “To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue. However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
After Garland issued a memorandum that directed the FBI to address the alleged violence at local school board meetings, the Justice Department opened a snitch line for complaints about parents. The Department’s National Security Division announced it would “determine how federal enforcement tools can be used to prosecute these crimes.”
“Concerned parents are absolutely not domestic terrorists and, to the extent actual threats exist, local law enforcement — and not the FBI — are the appropriate authorities to address those situations,” the letter from GOP lawmakers said. “Parents cannot tolerate this collusion between the NSBA and the Biden Administration to construct a justification for invoking federal law enforcement to intimidate and silence parents using their Constitutional rights to advocate for their child’s future.”
Republicans also asked, “whether the NSBA will urge Attorney General Garland to withdraw or rescind his October 4 memorandum.”
Already, state school boards are distancing themselves from the NSBA, condemning the association’s inflammatory letter. At least 22 state school boards have withdrawn their memberships from the NSBA so far.