Last week U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland pandered to the National School Board Association (NSBA) and sent a memorandum directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to prosecute violent threats made against the NSBA.
Turns out, the “threats” made by parents to school boards reported by the NSBA do not even qualify as violent or physical threats. Garland instructed the FBI to come to the Association’s aid after NSBA wrote a letter to the Biden administration.
Their letter asked Biden to determine if the parent’s actions can be described as domestic terrorism under the Patriot Act. Garland’s memorandum then told the FBI to collaborate with federal and state law-enforcement agencies to potentially prosecute the violent threats against teachers and administrators.
“Threats and acts of violence have become more prevalent – during public school board meetings, via documented threats transmitted through the U.S. Postal Service, through social media and other online platforms, and around personal properties” wrote the NSBA.
National Review reports, “the vast majority of incidents referenced by the NSBA don’t qualify as threats of physical violence, according to local news reports cited in the group’s letter – nor is it obvious what the federal government’s role would be in responding to them.”
Of the 24 incidents cited in the letter from the NSBA, 16 were tense verbal exchanges between parents and school-board members. The exchanges did not escalate to threats or physical violence. In majority of the cases, it was frustrated parents disrupting school-board meetings “by angrily objecting to their districts’ mandatory masking policies and/or embrace of critical-race-theory curricula” writes National Review.
Some other instances included parents picketing outside school-board meetings with chants and signs. Some parents exceeded their “allotted speaking time” during public meetings, and some occasions individuals were removed from the school board meetings for refusing to wear masks or being unruly.
National Review adds of the “exceptions in which angry verbal exchanges devolved into legitimate threats”:
In Worthington City School District in Ohio, a school-board member reportedly received a threatening letter. In Beaver Dam Unified School District in Wisconsin, a school-board member claims that people in cars have stopped at his house to photograph his address.
In Loudoun County, Va., school-board members have reportedly received death threats. At a Birmingham Public Schools board meeting, an audience member gave a Nazi salute during a public-comment period. In a few towns, parents were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
However, “While the behavior in those few cases was criminal, it falls under the jurisdiction of state and local authorities, not the federal government.” Therefore, as Wenyuan Wu, an Asian-American female and executive director of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, what the NSBA is doing is “like bringing 911 to a paper cut. Maybe there are a few isolated incidents of disruption or dissent, but that’s not even 1 percent of all concerned parents…they’re cherry-picking evidence.”
Wu also said she believes the Biden administration will exploit the handful of severe confrontations, none of which warrant federal intervention, in order to weaponize federal agencies against dissenting parents. Garland’s order would effectively “chill free speech” she said.