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A memo made public Thursday by Parents Defending Education raises new questions about whether or not the White House ordered Attorney General Merrick Garland to have the FBI investigate reported confrontations and incidents at local school board meetings across the country– directly contradicting what the AG previously told Congress.
The National School Boards Association memo from NSBA President Viola Garcia on October 12 proves that the White House was working with the NSBA before it sent its now-infamous letter to the Biden administration requesting federal law enforcement to investigate parents who have been vocal at local meetings, alleging that their actions may constitute “a form of domestic terrorism.”
“In the September 14, 2021 meeting of the OSAED [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,” the newly released memo reads.
Wait a minute … the NSBA was “actively engaged” with the Justice Dept BEFORE it sent its disgraceful letter calling parents terrorists? That’s not what Merrick Garland told Congress https://t.co/V5xTO84IhU
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 11, 2021
A few days later, on September 17, NSBA interim Executive Director Chip Slavin sent notice to the state association executive directors which expressed that a formal letter requesting federal assistance would be sent to the administration.
“NSBA is taking a number of actions regarding calling for protection and resources to assist school board members with these threats including a call for the President and federal government for more assistance,” the September 17 emailed notice read.
“Further, NSBA has drafted its own individual letter that has been in the planning for several days that will also go out next week. This is a very detailed letter calling attention to the problem and laying out some very specific requests for action. That letter will be shared out with all of you next week when it is sent out so you can share it with your members and also your Congressional Delegations,” the notice detailed.
Garland subsequently announced on October 4 that the FBI would investigate what he called “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
The president of the NBSA took credit for that October 4 announcement by Garland in her October 12 memo.
“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,” the memo noted.
It also stated that the NSBA was “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.”
The NSBA, however, was eventually forced to apologize for the language used in the letter it sent to the Biden administration– namely, comparing parents to terrorists.
“To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue. However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter,” the board wrote in their apology.
Since then, there have been numerous calls for the Justice Department and the AG to recall their investigation and memo.
“Because the NSBA letter was the basis for your memorandum and given that your memorandum has been and will continue to be read as threatening parents and chilling their protected First Amendment rights, the only responsible course of action is for you to fully and unequivocally withdraw your memorandum immediately,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) wrote to Garland in October.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called on Garland to do the same in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing a few days later.
“Senator, the memo — which I refer to as one page — that responds to concerns about violence, threats of violence, other criminal conduct. That’s all it’s about and all it asks is for federal law enforcement to consult with, meet with local law enforcement to assess the circumstances, strategize about what may or may not be necessary to provide federal assistance if it is necessary,” the AG snapped.
“Presumably, you wrote the memo because of the letter. The letter is disavowed now, so you’re going to keep your memo going anyway, right? Is that what you’re telling me?” Grassley asked, doubling down.
“The language in the letter that they disavow is language was never included in my memo and never would have been. I did not adopt every concern that they had in their letter. I thought that only the concern about violence and threats of violence that hasn’t changed,” the AG said, dodging the premise of Grassley’s argument.
The disavowed language that Garland is arguing about is the reference to domestic terrorism in the September 17 letter. Despite his denial of that language being included in the memo he himself received, the DOJ press release on the matter mentioned the deployment of the National Security Division on alleged parental misconduct. Interestingly enough, the NSD handles terrorism and other threats.
It is unclear whether or not Garland will rescind the investigation and his memo or be held accountable for his shady involvement in the ordeal.
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