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Senator Rand Paul blasts Garland’s plans for crackdown on parents who stand up to woke school boards


Republican Senator Rand Paul has blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland for his plans for the FBI to crackdown on parents who stand up for woke school boards, warning that Americans should ‘be afraid of your government’. 

Paul said moms at school boards are now being told ‘they are criminals’ as he slammed the Justice Department’s plans to draft in the FBI to prosecute parents for protesting against the likes of critical race theory (CRT) and transgender ideology being taught to their children in schools across America.

The Kentucky senator told Fox News Primetime: ‘Moms at school boards are being told that they’re criminals, potential domestic terrorists, for the crime of dissent.

‘I think criminalizing dissent is something that we should all be appalled with.’ 

Fox host Ben Domenech asked Paul what he would tell Americans who are concerned that ‘if they go to their local school board and say the wrong thing, that they’re going to end up up on some list that Merrick Garland goes after.’ 

The senator responded: ‘I would say be afraid. Be afraid of your government.’

Paul continued: ‘That’s a sad thing from someone in the government to say, but the thing is, is those lists already exist.

‘For example, people in northern Virginia that have gone to [protests], have been then sought out by the school council, by the members of the school board and retaliated [against] in a sort of legalistic way to try to put them on some sort of list and chill their speech by letting them know there’ll be a penalty for showing up and protesting.’

On Monday, Garland sent a memo saying the FBI and local law enforcement had been engaged to tackle the ‘disturbing trend’ of teachers being threatened or harassed.  

Republican Senator Rand Paul (pictured) has blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland for his plans for the FBI to crackdown on parents who stand up for woke school boards, warning that Americans should ‘be afraid of your government’

On Monday, Garland (pictured) sent a memo saying the FBI and local law enforcement had been engaged to tackle the 'disturbing trend' of teachers being threatened or harassed

On Monday, Garland (pictured) sent a memo saying the FBI and local law enforcement had been engaged to tackle the ‘disturbing trend’ of teachers being threatened or harassed

The memo said that while ‘spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats or violence or efforts to intimate individuals based on their views.’ 

‘In the coming days the department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel,’ it read. 

The action is in response to an urgent request last week from the National School Boards Association. The group, which represents school board members around the country, asked President Joe Biden for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats made over policies including mask mandates, likening the vitriol to a form of domestic terrorism.     

‘I think the problem is, it’s become so normalized to use government to search out and seek out your opponents,’ said Paul, who referenced the case of Carter Page, the former campaign adviser to Donald Trump.

The FBI obtained a warrant in 2016 to eavesdrop on Page on suspicions he was secretly a Russian agent. The Justice Department renewed the warrant three times , which was issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, including during the early months of the Trump administration.   

Paul said: ‘There are people I know on the left who should have stepped forward and should have said how wrong it is to use this foreign intelligence court – that uses a standard lower than the Constitution – to go after a political campaign.

‘Yet, the left — once it became about Trump, their hatred of Trump trumped everything else, and I have a feeling and a fear that the left has become more authoritarian than we can really even imagine.’

Paul said moms at school boards are now being told 'they are criminals'. Pictured: Parents protesting during a meeting of the North Allegheny School District school board regarding the district's mask policy, at at North Allegheny Senior High School in McCandless, Pennsylvania

Paul said moms at school boards are now being told ‘they are criminals’. Pictured: Parents protesting during a meeting of the North Allegheny School District school board regarding the district’s mask policy, at at North Allegheny Senior High School in McCandless, Pennsylvania

He added: ‘Look, there are all kinds of laws about decorum, and there ought to be. The idiot woman that goes in the bathroom, filming Senator [Kyrsten] Sinema in a bathroom, that is illegal according to every local ordinance and you should punish that person.

‘If you go to a school board meeting and you’re disruptive and you don’t obey the rules of the school board meeting, then there will be local punishment,’ he added.

‘But that has nothing to do with the federal law, it has nothing to do with the Department of Justice. What Merrick Garland did is, he’s attempting to stifle dissent, and he’s attempting to say, “Beware or Big Brother’s coming after you if you speak out against my policies or against the Biden policies”.’

It comes at a time when parents and school boards across the country have gone to war over the last year – predominantly over anti-racist teachings, transgender rights and COVID-19 restrictions.

Republican senator Marco Rubio also called Garland’s move ‘alarming’ and ‘hypocritical’ while appearing on the same show. 

He said: ‘It’s alarming because [of] this idea that somehow if parents show up at a school board to complain, if somebody there decides, “Well, we don’t like his tone of voice, we don’t like how loud he’s speaking, we don’t like how often he shows up,” you can be reported.’

Rubio added: ‘The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which should be focused on things like organized crime, things like drug traffickers, things like terrorism and others who seek to harm this country, is now going to divert resources to investigate parents because they scream too loudly, or maybe are even rude at a school board hearing?’

Republican senator Marco Rubio (pictured) also called Garland's move 'alarming' and 'hypocritical' while appearing on the same show

Republican senator Marco Rubio (pictured) also called Garland’s move ‘alarming’ and ‘hypocritical’ while appearing on the same show

The senator also claimed the move was hypocritical because ‘there are very few, if any senators – certainly people on the right, members of Congress as well – who have not been harassed in their private life … So they have normalized this behavior when it comes to left-wing protesters, but then when a parent speaks out about a school board, they want to sic the FBI on them. This is crazy.’

The move comes after the National School Boards Association asked for the federal government to investigate cases where threats or violence could be handled as violations of federal laws protecting civil rights. It also asked for the Justice Department, FBI, Homeland Security and Secret Service to help monitor threat levels and assess risks to students, educators, board members and school buildings.

The group’s letter documented more than 20 instances of threats, harassment, disruption, and acts of intimidation in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and other states. It cited the September arrest of an Illinois man for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct for allegedly striking a school official at a meeting. In Michigan, a meeting was disrupted when a man performed a Nazi salute to protest masking.

‘We are coming after you,’ a letter mailed to an Ohio school board member said, according to the group. ‘You are forcing them to wear mask — for no reason in this world other than control. And for that you will pay dearly.’ It called the member ‘a filthy traitor.’

In making the announcement Garland said the Justice Department would use its authority and resources to discourage the threats and ‘prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.’

Parents protesting a mask mandate at a school board meeting in Las Vegas in August. Parents and school boards across the country have gone to war over the last year - predominantly over anti-racist teachings, transgender rights and COVID-19 restrictions

Parents protesting a mask mandate at a school board meeting in Las Vegas in August. Parents and school boards across the country have gone to war over the last year – predominantly over anti-racist teachings, transgender rights and COVID-19 restrictions

School board members are largely unpaid volunteers, parents and former educators who step forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent and review the budget, but they have been frightened at how their jobs have suddenly become a culture war battleground. The climate has led a growing number to resign or decide against seeking reelection.

In a statement, Chip Slaven, NSBA interim executive director and CEO, praised the Justice Department’s swift action and pointed to the detrimental impact the threats of violence and intimidation have had on the education system.

‘Over the last few weeks, school board members and other education leaders have received death threats and have been subjected to threats and harassment, both online and in person,’ Slaven said. The department’s action ‘is a strong message to individuals with violent intent who are focused on causing chaos, disrupting our public schools, and driving wedges between school boards and the parents, students, and communities they serve.’

Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, an Arlington, Virginia-based group formed in January, took the school board group and the Justice Department to task. 

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press she said: ‘It is shameful that activists are weaponizing the US Department of Justice against parents. This is a coordinated attempt to intimidate dissenting voices in the debates surrounding America’s underperforming K-12 education – and it will not succeed. We will not be silenced.’   

The crackdown on ‘complaining’ parents comes at a time when America is in the grips of a serious crime spike in the wake of Black Lives Matter and defund the police protests, said Carlson – something he said the Biden administration has not issued a crackdown on.

FBI data released at the end of September revealed the number of murders across the US increased by a staggering 29 percent in 2020.

In total, there were around 21,500 murders last year – 5,000 more than in 2019 – with around three-quarters committed by firearms.  

This marked the biggest percentage increase since the FBI started collecting data back in 1960 and smashed the previous record uplift of a 12.7 percent increase in 1968. 



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