Pennsylvania School Boards Association Breaks Ties with National Group Seeking to Identify Anti-CRT Parents as ‘Domestic Terrorists’

US President Joe Biden(C) and First Lady Jill Biden(R) visit the classroom of fifth-grade teacher Cindy Bertamini, at Yorktown Elementary School in Yorktown, Virginia on May 3, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) reportedly voted to sever its ties Thursday with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) after the group sent a letter to President Joe Biden seeking federal law enforcement help to deal with parents opposed to Critical Race Theory (CRT) and mask mandates.

The PSBA reportedly circulated an internal memo regarding the issue that drew a national firestorm after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded to the NSBA letter by stating he would mobilize the FBI against parents who voiced concerns at local school board meetings, possibly identifying them as “domestic terrorists,” as NSBA requested.

According to education researcher Corey A. DeAngelis, the PSBA’s memo indicated the “national controversy … suggesting that some parents should be considered domestic terrorists was the final straw.”

“This misguided approach has made our work and that of many school boards more difficult,” the statement by PSBA said, adding:

It has tormented more disputes and cast partisanship on our work on behalf of school directors, when we seek to find common ground and support all school directors in their work, no matter their politics. Now is not the time for more politics and posturing. It is a time for solutions to the many challenges facing education.

While PSBA asserted it “abhors the fact that some boards have been met with threats and violence,” the group added that “attempting to solve the problems with a call for federal intervention is not the place to begin, nor a model for promoting greater civility and respect for the democratic process.”

The PSBA further acknowledged “it has been a struggle for the board and leadership … to identify a reason to continue to be a part of a federation that is not focused on bipartisanship, civility and seeking solutions to the internal problems that have plagued the national organization for so long.”

“From financial and pension issues to a never-ending disagreement on a governance model and definition of membership, the problems at NSBA have only become more and more entrenched despite recurring promises for action,” PSBA explained further.

According to a report at Delaware Valley Journal, Annette Stevenson, chief communications officer at PSBA, said last week her state group disavowed the letter NSBA sent to Biden.

“The Pennsylvania School Boards Association was not consulted prior to the letter being sent by the National School Boards Association to President Biden,” she said. “We were not asked for input nor discussion on its content.”

Stevenson elaborated:

PSBA has always encouraged local school boards to welcome input and remarks from community members and all stakeholders, and Pennsylvania has a long history of relying on local school district control to ensure that the will of the community and parents is best represented. PSBA is strongly averse to the lack of civility and violence being witnessed in some districts, and we support that local districts need to be able to work with their local and regional law enforcement to address such safety concerns.

Other state school boards associations have renounced NSBA’s letter to Biden, including Louisiana, Virginia, and Florida.


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