Breaking Tuesday, a group of parents in Saline, Michigan and Loudoun County, Virginia filed suit against Attorney General Merrick Garland for violating the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution. As a result of critical race theory, mask and vaccine mandates being implemented in schools across the U.S., parents have been at odds with school boards.
On Tuesday the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Attorney General alleging his recent letter criminalizes parents for their criticism of local school boards; a violation of the Constitution’s First and Fifth Amendments.
Actions leading up to the lawsuit began September 29 when the National School Board Association (NSBA) wrote a letter to President Biden asking for “federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators.”
The NSBA letter, which directly referenced an article critical of Turning Point USA’s watchlist of teachers forcing a critical race theory curriculum, likened the parents fighting schoolboards to a “form of domestic terrorism.”
Attorney General Garland then responded in support of the NSBA and called upon the FBI and federal prosecutors to use its federal resources and “criminal justice system to target those parents who dare to publicly criticize the local school boards that are indoctrinating their children with progressive claptrap disguised as school curricula” reports the AFLC.
The federal lawsuit against Garland states:
In his October 4, 2021, “Memorandum For” Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Director, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division; and United States Attorneys (all responsible for investigating and prosecuting criminal activity), the Attorney General falsely states that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.” In his memorandum, the Attorney General gives a meaningless nod to the Constitution, stating, “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.” Yet, the AG Policy is, in fact, a heavy-handed, direct threat by a powerful government agency designed and intended “to intimidate individuals based on their views.”
The AG Policy states that the Department of Justice “is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats . . . and other forms of intimidation and harassment.” The AG Policy creates a “snitch line,” by “open[ing] dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.” In short, the AG Policy is a direct threat and warning to parents and private citizens across the United States, including Plaintiffs, that the Department of Justice and its FBI will be investigating you and monitoring what you say at these school board meetings so be careful about what you say and how you say it, thereby chilling such expression.
The October 4, 2021, memorandum is a one-page screed that rubber-stamps the claims of “progressive,” left-wing activists. It fails to address the Department of Justice’s lack of jurisdiction to intrude on interactions between parents and local school boards in the absence of any federal crime, and it fails to account for the fact that the First Amendment protects political dissent—even dissent that rises to the level of intimidation or harassment.