The National School Boards Association liaised with the White House and Justice Department before writing to Joe Biden, it emerged on Thursday, with their infamous letter complaining that threats made by parents against board members should be taken as seriously as domestic terrorism.
Viola Garcia, president of the National School Boards Association, wrote to Joe Biden on September 29 asking for federal support for board meetings
The NSBA, in an internal memo sent on October 12, revealed that they had held discussions with White House officials before sending the letter. The association represents more than 90,000 school board members in 14,000 public school districts.
The memo – obtained by Fox News – states that, on September 14, members of a liaison group ‘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.’
On September 17, executive directors for states were told by the interim Executive Director that ‘a letter requesting federal assistance would be sent.’
On September 29, the letter was sent to Biden, asked for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats made over school policies such as curriculum, gendered bathrooms, and mask mandates.
The letter was sent after a combustible summer, which saw school board meetings become scenes of at times violent unrest.
Loudoun County in Virginia became the epicenter of anger, with people arrested after a confrontation in June.
Amy Jahr sings the Star Spangled Banner after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down on June 22
Protesters in Loudoun County on June 22 forced the meeting to end early amid wild scenes
Issues of critical race theory, gendered bathrooms and COVID protocols have sparked angry scenes
‘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 NBSA wrote in the letter.
Viola Garcia, president of the NBSA, who wrote the letter, had altered the text to satisfy the White House, according to another email obtained by Fox.
She worked with Chip Slaven, an NBSA executive, and the White House team ‘for weeks’, according to a September 29 email from Slaven.
‘In talks over the last several weeks with White House staff, they requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring,’ Slaven wrote to the NSBA board of directors.
The attorney general, Merrick Garland, responded on October 4, expressing concern at ‘an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools.’
He wrote: ‘Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.
‘Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.’
Merrick Garland (pictured) responded to the NBSA letter on October 4
Garland directed the FBI to arrange meetings with local law enforcement leaders to discuss ‘strategies for addressing this disturbing trend.’
He said: ‘These sessions will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response by law enforcement.’
The NSBA letter, and Garland’s response to it, attracted a furious response, with accusations that the Biden administration was equating parents and domestic terrorists.
On October 22, the NBSA issued another letter, saying that they ‘regret and apologize for the letter’ sent to Biden.
‘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 the issue.
‘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 consultation on a communication of this significance.’
On October 22 the NBSA rescinded its earlier letter to Biden
Biden himself has not spoken about the NBSA’s letter or the furore it sparked
Yet Garland refused to rescind his October 4 memo, and insisted on October 27 that the FBI consultations must continue.
The NSBA has now removed its letter to Biden from its website, but the attorney general said their plea for help still stood.
‘The obligation of the Justice Department is to protect the American people against violence, including threats of violence, and that particularly includes public officials,’ Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
‘That is still a concern for the department.’