Parents have been furious with some school boards in the nation over the past several months and some school boards and some in the government have talked about treating those parents as criminals.
But now there is a school board that has taken it way too far, by sending police to the homes of parents who it deemed to be an issue and had them arrested, The Western Journal reported.
Welcome to Round Rock, Texas, where the Round Rock Independent School District decided that its police department — designed to handle on-campus issues — should go out into the city and arrest a couple of men who confronted the school board, according to the City Journal, a publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
In an August school board meeting Jeremy Story, a minister, produced what he said was evidence the Round Rock school superintendent, Hafedh Azaiez, had assaulted a mistress, City Journal reported. Azaiez cut Story off in mid-sentence and had police remove him from the room.
In September, Dustin Clark, a retired Army captain, and other parents objected to being locked out of a school board meeting and unable to speak on the district’s mask mandate. There was also a tax issue, according to Chronicles, a magazine published by the Rockford Institute, a conservative think tank based in Rockford, Illinois.
But Board President Amy Weir responded by ordering police to remove Clark.
It was days later that the school board sent police to the homes of Story and Clark to have them arrested and charged with “disorderly conduct with intent to disrupt a meeting.”
The school board was able to do that because it legitimately has its own police force.
“The department serves under the authority of the board and, through coordination with other agencies, apparently has the power to order the arrest of citizens in their homes. For many parents, the school board is sending a message: if you speak out against us, we will turn you into criminals. When reached for comment, the school district’s police department confirmed that it initiated the investigation and that ‘one board member requested details from the RRISD Police’ prior to the criminal referral,” City Journal reported.
In October Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson railed at the Justice Department for announcing investigations into parents who are showing up at school board meetings in greater numbers to protest materials presented to their children that are controversial, divisive, and inappropriate.
“What the attorney general is doing … is outrageous. It is such a violation of people’s constitutional rights to petition their government, to free speech,” Johnson said Sunday during an interview on “Cats Roundtable” with host John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM.
Johnson was referencing Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memo to U.S. attorneys and the FBI directing them to investigate claims that parents are acting in threatening ways at school board meetings in protest of curricula like critical race theory and sexually explicit materials their children have discovered in some school libraries.
“In recent months, 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,” Garland wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 4. “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.
“The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel,” the memo added.
Garland was reacting to a letter from ranking officials with the National School Board Association, who wrote to President Joe Biden in an appeal for him to ask federal agencies to examine whether parental behavior at meetings rose to the level of “domestic terrorism.”
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” the letter from association President Viola Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven said.
“Local school board members want to hear from their communities on important issues and that must be at the forefront of good school board governance and promotion of free speech. However, there also must be safeguards in place to protect public schools and dedicated education leaders as they do their jobs,” the letter continued.
“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the officials claimed.