Emails now show that the National School Boards Association coordinated with the White House and the Department of Justice before it sent a letter to President Joe Biden that compared some concerned parents at school board meetings to domestic terrorists.
The emails were obtained by Fox News and allegedly show that the NSBA coordinated with the White House before it sent the letter, Fox News reported.
Viola Garcia, the NSBA president whom the Department of Education later named to a federal board, sent a memo to NSBA members on Oct. 11 (but dated Oct. 12), providing a timeline of the NSBA’s interaction with the White House ahead of the letter to Biden, which the NSBA sent on Sept. 29.
Five days later, on Oct. 4, the DOJ issued a memo directing law enforcement to investigate threats to school boards. On Oct. 22, the NSBA issued an apology for the letter.
“Concern over the current climate for school board members is also a top priority as disruptions at school board meetings grow and members face growing threats,” Garcia said in the memo obtained by Parents Defending Education via a Freedom of Information Act request. “NSBA has been actively engaged with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Surgeon General, and other federal agencies on pandemic related issues.”
“In the September 14, 2021 meeting of the [NSBA Organization of State Association Executive Directors] liaison group, they were informed there had been a meeting with White House staff that morning and that NSBA was preparing to send a letter to the President. Subsequently, on September 17, 2021, the interim Executive Director emailed notice to the state association executive directors that indicated a letter requesting federal assistance would be sent,” she said.
“In response to the letter sent by NSBA, on October 4, 2021 the Attorney General announced in a memorandum widely shared throughout the U.S. Department of Justice that he was ordering all U.S. Attorney Offices and local FBI offices to reach out to local and state law enforcement officials to coordinate efforts on this problem within 30 days of the memorandum,” she said.
But on October 27 Attorney General Merrick Garland was questioned by Sen. Dick Durbin about what he thought after the NSBA apologized for what it said.
“The letter that was subsequently sent does not change the association’s concern of violence or threats of violence. It alters some of the language in the letter … that we did not rely on and is not contained in my own memorandum,” he said.
In another email that was sent to Fox News showed that the NSBA discussed issues with the White House before it sent the letter.
“Garcia and Chip Slaven, an NSBA executive, altered the text of the letter to satisfy the curiosity of White House staff,” Fox News reported.
“In talks over the last several weeks with White House staff, they requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring,” Slaven said in a September 29, 2021 email sent to the NSBA board of directors.
In October, other emails showed that the White House was aware of the NSBA’s plans, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
The emails, obtained by Parents Defending Education through public records requests and reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon, reveal that the National School Board Association’s president and CEO sent the letter to Biden on Sept. 29 without approval from the organization’s board. The letter said that the acts of some parents at school board meetings across the country could be considered “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
The emails also show that the White House asked the association for examples of threats against school board members days before Attorney General Merrick Garland created a task force of officials from the FBI and the Justice Department to determine how to prosecute alleged crimes at school board meetings.