National School Boards Assn. Official Who Co-Wrote Parental ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Letter Appointed To Federal Post

One of the two officials from the National School Boards Association who wrote a letter to the Biden administration appearing to compare some parental actions at school board meetings to “domestic terrorism” has been appointed to a federal post.

“Viola Garcia was named by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to ​sit on the National Assessment Governing Board, which was established in 1988 and oversees and sets policy for the National Assessment of Education Progress,” the New York Post reported Tuesday.

The paper added: “That board, also known as ‘the Nation’s Report Card,’ examines student performance on a number of subjects and reports on their achievements.”​

“The 26-member Governing Board is responsible for deciding which subjects NAEP assesses, determining the assessments’ content, setting achievement levels that describe student performance, and pursuing new ways to make NAEP results useful and meaningful to the public,” a press release dated Oct. 13 from the Department of Education announcing Garcia’s appointment said.

The late September letter from Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven 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.”

“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 letter prompted a response from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who tasked U.S. attorneys and the FBI to work with local law enforcement to investigate parental actions at school board meetings, which drew heavy criticism from Republicans.

“Parents are speaking out against Critical Race Theory in schools. Now the Biden administration is cracking down on dissent,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tweeted in response to the DOJ announcement.

“At his confirmation hearing, Merrick Garland promised not to follow the Obama model of weaponizing DOJ to target & persecute his political opponents,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said. “Just a few months in, he’s already breaking that promise.”

Blake Masters, a GOP candidate who is running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, stated, “It can happen here. It’s happening here. Your government is being weaponized against you.”

Last week, the association walked back the letter and the language used to describe parents.

“On behalf of the NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter. To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue,” the letter reads. “We apologize also for the strain and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations.”