State AGs Seek to Stop Biden DOJ Threat of FBI Mobilization Against Parents

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita speaks during a news conference outside of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. Working for Rokita is an exacting job with long hours, made more difficult by a boss known for micromanaging and yelling at his staff, according to 10 former aides who spoke to The Associated …
AP/Darron Cummings

Attorneys general from 17 states have signed onto an effort to prevent the Biden Department of Justice from threatening vocal parents who express their concerns to school officials with investigation by federal law enforcement.

Led by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R), the chief law enforcement officers in their respective states are seeking “to deter the Biden administration from threatening parents who express their views to school officials on issues regarding their children’s education.”

“Hoosier parents have a First Amendment right to speak their minds to teachers, administrators and school board members,” Rokita said. “That’s why I’m demanding that the Biden administration immediately stop attempting to shut down parental participation through scare tactics and intimidation.”

In the letter to President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Rokita wrote:

Over the last year, as legal officers, we have advised our constituencies of their constitutional right to free speech and encouraged public engagement to voice their opinions on important issues affecting their country, state, and communities, especially parents who have concerns about their children’s education. Your recent action seeks to chill lawful dissent by parents voiced during local school board meetings by characterizing them as unlawful and threatening.

The letter refers to the fact that, on October 4, Garland issued a memorandum in response to a letter by the National School Boards Association (NSBA), in which the organization asked Biden for “federal law enforcement and other assistance” to deal with frustrated parents at local school board meetings.

“The October 4, 2021 Memorandum repeats the canard that ‘there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,’” the letter reads, and adds:

To be sure, anyone who attacks or threatens violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, or staff should be prosecuted. However, in its letter demanding action, the NSBA fails to document a single legitimate instance of violence. And even if it did, there are sufficient criminal and civil remedies already available in all 50 states and territories.

Garland announced his office would mobilize the FBI, in conjunction with U.S. attorneys across the country, against parents, based on NSBA reports of incidents the group characterizes as “threats or actual acts of violence against our school districts.”

Included in its list of examples of “threats of actual acts of violence” for which NSBA is seeking federal law enforcement assistance are:

An individual was arrested in Illinois for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct during a school board meeting. During two separate school board meetings in Michigan, an individual yelled a Nazi salute in protest to masking requirements, and another individual prompted the board to call a recess because of opposition to critical race theory.

In New Jersey, Ohio, and other states, anti-mask proponents are inciting chaos during board meetings … A resident in Alabama, who proclaimed himself as “vaccine police,” has called school administrators while filming himself on Facebook Live.

NSBA asked Biden to issue an executive order that would serve to protect school officials and school board members from parents after review of “appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence under the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute.”

The school boards organization complained in its letter that parents are objecting to the teaching of concepts of Critical Race Theory (CRT).

“This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class,” NSBA asserted.

Last month, however, the United States Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution during its annual convention in which its members pledged to support the teaching of CRT in K-12 schools.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the nation’s mayors support the implementation of CRT in the public education curriculum to help engage our youth in programming that reflects an accurate, complete account of BIPOC history,” the mayors stated.

In July, the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union, also moved to openly promote the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools and to oppose any bans on instruction in both the Marxist ideology and the widely discredited New York Times’ “1619 Project.”

The union agreed to “research the organizations attacking educators,” doing what it referred to as “anti-racist work,” as well as to “use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked.”

NEA dismissed the outrage of grassroots parents, claiming the main critics of Critical Race Theory are “well-funded” conservative groups.

“The attacks on anti-racist teachers are increasing, coordinated by well-funded organizations such as the Heritage Foundation,” the union said. “We need to be better prepared to respond to these attacks so that our members can continue this important work.”

The state attorneys general conclude their letter by asserting “the NSBA letter and the October 4, 2021 Memorandum seek to intimidate parents under the threat of being investigated as ‘domestic terrorists’ from exercising their rights.”

“To that end we request that you immediately withdraw the October 4, 2021 Memorandum, to immediately cease any further actions designed to intimidate parents from expressing their opinions on the education of their children, and demand that you respect their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to raise their children,” the AGs wrote.

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