17 states call out Biden admin, demand it stop intimidating parents

A group of 17 state attorneys general is calling out the federal government after Attorney General Merrick Garland penned a memo directing the FBI to take a lead role in addressing what he called “the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

“Your recent action seeks to chill lawful dissent by parents voiced during local school board meetings by characterizing them as unlawful and threatening,” read the Monday letter from the attorneys general, led by Indiana Republican Todd Rokita.

Garland’s memo came after the National School Boards Association effectively put the drama occurring at school board meetings across the country, where many parents have voiced their concerns with critical race theory and mask mandates, on par with “domestic terrorism.”

“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,” the association said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Days later, Garland said the Department of Justice will act.

“In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel,” his Oct. 4 memo read.

“Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation’s nearly 14,000 public school districts,” Garland added. “To this end, I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum.

“These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”

But Rokita and his fellow state attorneys general thought Garland’s very premise was flawed.

“To be sure, anyone who attacks or threatens violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, or staff should be prosecuted,” they said. “However, in its letter demanding action, the NSBA fails to document a single legitimate instance of violence. And even if it did, there are sufficient criminal and civil remedies already available in all 50 states and territories.”

“Surely the FBI and Department of Justice have more pressing matters to attend to,” they also said, “like the massive spike in murders in major cities throughout the United States.”

The attorneys general also implied that Garland and the NSBA are disregarding the principle of free speech.

“The NSBA seems more concerned about suppressing speech with which it disagrees than real threats of violence,” they said, adding that “physical assault on a school administrator, board member, teacher, or staff is just that, a criminal assault and will be addressed under state law.”

In a statement, Rokita called out the Biden administration’s “scare tactics and intimidation.”

“Hoosier parents have a First Amendment right to speak their minds to teachers, administrators and school board members,” he said. “That’s why I’m demanding that the Biden administration immediately stop attempting to shut down parental participation through scare tactics and intimidation.”