School board associations in Louisiana and Virginia have denounced a letter sent to the Justice Department by the National School Board Association, contending local law enforcement is well equipped to handle any threats directed at school board members.
The DOJ issued a sweeping memorandum last week in response to the NSBA's Sept. 29 letter to President Joe Biden addressing concerns about public school officials "facing physical threats" from members of the community. The DOJ responded by declaring that the FBI would take on "threats of violence" against school boards and teachers amid growing parental anger over curricula, mask mandates, and other polarizing issues.
However, the Virginia School Boards Association and the Louisiana Schools Boards issued respective letters last week in response to NSBA's letter to Biden, acknowledging threats exist but underscoring disagreements with the letter and the DOJ's response, primarily against calls for federal law enforcement's involvement in local issues.
Both the VSBA and LSBA said the NSBA did not consult with the associations before drafting the letter and sending it to the president.
— Louisiana School Boards Association (@LSBALeads) October 9, 2021
The state-level associations said there is a need to mitigate and reduce any threats to school staff but acknowledged the difficult conversations happening across educational institutions in the nation.
"There are times when discourse may be challenging to navigate but open discourse is a necessary course to chart in public service. However, threats are never an appropriate response," the LSBA wrote.
The VSBA fully declined aid from federal law enforcement, saying, "While we look for support to our state and federal governments, we do not seek the involvement of federal law enforcement or other officials in local decisions."
Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped the FBI on Oct. 5 to address what he called a "disturbing" amount of threats of violence and harassment allegedly being made toward teachers, administrators, and school board officials.
"There is no justification for physical or verbal threats directed against them, their staff and certainly not the students," the VSBA wrote of alleged threatened teachers. "Nor is there any excuse for disrupting a public meeting. When such unfortunate events occur, the local officials, working with local law enforcement, must deal with the situation appropriately."
Much of the debate regarding the safety of school officials has emerged as parents across the country have made boisterous protests over concerns that some school officials are attempting to teach students about critical race theory — an educational philosophy that pushes the idea racism is not an aberration but is inherently systemic to the U.S.
Bill Jacobson, the founder of a conservative news blog following CRT developments across the country, told the Washington Examiner last week he has not seen any widespread violence happening to school officials as a result of the parental outcry against school curricula.
"Generally speaking, from what I've seen, the only time there's any level of violence is where somebody is at the microphone and the school board cuts them off, and the school board calls in the police to remove a person," Jacobson told the Washington Examiner. "I've not seen reports of school board members being attacked, and if they were, it shouldn't happen, and local law enforcement is well equipped to deal with it."
The Washington Examiner contacted NSBA but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: School board associations denounce NSBA's letter to DOJ over threats