The Biden administration has been contacted by a national school board organization with an unusual appeal: Consider some parents who are rowdy and potential violent at board meetings to be “domestic terrorists.”
A letter from the National School Board Association on Wednesday addressed to President Joe Biden sought “immediate assistance” for school board members, teachers, and even students following reported threats and violence over the adoption of critical race theory materials as well as sexually explicit books in school libraries.
“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 NSBA President Viola Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven noted.
“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 said.
The organization said that “immediate assistance is required to protect our students, school board members, and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety.”
“As our school boards continue coronavirus recovery operations within their respective districts, they are also persevering against other challenges that could impede this progress in a number of communities,” it adds.
“Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula,” the NSBA officials wrote.
“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,” they added.
The officials went on to request “a joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI, including any technical assistance necessary from, and state and local coordination with, its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight.”
In response, the Biden administration responded that it’s not likely that federal assistance is forthcoming.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Biden had seen the letter and if he was considering sending federal assistance, she said “we take the security of public servants and elected officials across the country very seriously” while calling the threats “horrible.”
“Obviously, there are going to be different law enforcement authorities that will be related to each community and — where this is happening, so we’d certainly refer you to them about any specific threats,” she said.
?And we’d encourage individuals to report any threats they face to local and state law enforcement agencies. And we’re continuing to explore what more can be done from across the administration,” Psaki said, according to The Hill.