The Florida School Boards Association announced on Tuesday it would leave the National School Boards Association (NSBA) effective Wednesday, in a continuation of the backlash from state board associations against the NSBA for colluding with Attorney General Marrick Garland to target parents under domestic terrorism laws.
“The board voted to condemn the letter that [NSBA] sent to the White House requesting the FBI to get involved with local school board businesses,” Escambia County School Board Member Kevin Adams told a local ABC News affiliate.
The FSBA sent a letter to their national umbrella organization in October to express concern about the NSBA’s letter to Garland, explaining the FSBA’s decision to withhold its membership dues and threatening to continue withholding them.
“We … both encourage and welcome parents, as well as other concerned citizens into our school board meetings to engage in lively, respectful, and civil civic discourse,” the letter said. “If we are to ever again have a strong national federation, it must be one that eschews rhetoric, avoids partisanship, collaborates with its members, and focuses its energies on intentional impact.”
Brevard County School Board Member Matt Susin told local news that the lack of a response by the NSBA to the Florida group’s demands played an important role in discussions before this week’s unanimous, bipartisan vote to cut membership ties completely.
Florida joins about half the states in the country that have distanced themselves from the national organization. Montana and South Carolina withdrew from the group last month, joining Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Louisiana in ditching membership in the NSBA.
These states make up some of the 25-plus state school board groups that have taken action to distance themselves from the NSBA, such as withholding membership dues or planning to withdraw in the future.
25 state school boards associations have now distanced themselves from the National School Boards Association.
10 of those states have discontinued membership, participation, and/or dues because of the NSBA's actions. pic.twitter.com/5fNA0Ecf7X
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) November 10, 2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis weighed in to support the FSBA’s decision on Thursday. “I support what the Florida School Board Association did,” he said. “The National School Board Association was using its organization to advance a partisan narrative and agenda. And they created this letter to try to get the FBI to start basically running interference at school board meetings.”
“They’re not interested in having the FBI go after the guy in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which was an intentional act of terrorism,” DeSantis added. “But they somehow think a parent who is upset that there’s bad curriculum being put in schools, or forced masking or all these other things, that if they speak out, then somehow they are a domestic threat? Give me a break.”