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The National School Board Association apologized for its letter to President Joe Biden calling for help from federal law enforcement to assist with “threats and violence” from parents and protesters.
The group said there was "no justification" for the language used in its Sept. 29 letter to the Biden administration calling some parents' actions "the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism" as parents throughout the United States lock horns with school administrators over transgender policies, the use of critical race theory, and mask mandates.
“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 NSBA wrote Friday evening. “However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow for some consultation on a communication of this significance.”
The move followed Attorney General Merrick Garland’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday about his Oct. 4 memo to the FBI acting on the NSBA’s request for federal law enforcement to become involved with protesters against school boards, including invoking the Patriot Act to combat domestic terrorism. The memo raised outcry from critics who saw this as the Department of Justice accepting the labeling of parents as "domestic terrorists."
"The Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools," Garland told members of Congress Thursday.
Internal emails between NSBA leadership showed that some members were opposed to the original Sept. 29 letter that the organization sent to the Biden administration. One board member, John Halkias, criticized the CEO and president’s letter in an Oct. 1 email.
“I agree with many of my colleagues that the Board of Directors should have been consulted before a letter like this was sent out publicly, and no less to the President of the United States and the National Press,” he wrote. “I also agree that the letter took a stance that went beyond what many of us would consider to be reasonable and used terms that were extreme, and asked for action by the Federal Government that many of us would not request.”
Beverly Slough, a member of the NSBA board of directors, thanked Halkias for his “very thoughtful analysis [on] our current situation.”
“I agree — we must do better,” she added.
School board meetings across the U.S. have been divisive over the past few months, particularly in Loudoun County, Virginia, where an explosive June 22 meeting led to the arrest of Scott Smith, a father who said his daughter was sexually assaulted due to the school's transgender policy. Protesters have since demanded the resignation of Superintendent Scott Ziegler, who said that "the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist."
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Original Author: Virginia Aabram
Original Location: NSBA apologizes for letter calling parents 'domestic terrorists'