AG Garland Directs FBI to Protect Teachers, Schools After School Board Assoc. Calls Anti-CRT Protests ‘Domestic Terrorism’

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Protestors march against New York City’s public school employee vaccine mandate. Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed the FBI and the U.S. Attorney Generals office to protect schools and teachers after a school board association claimed that anti-Critical Race Theory and anti-COVID-19 masking and vaccine measure protests should be classified as “domestic terrorism.”
Protestors march against New York City’s public school employee vaccine mandate. Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed the FBI and U.S. Attorney General offices to protect schools and teachers after a school board association claimed that anti-Critical Race Theory and anti-COVID-19 masking and vaccine measure protests should be classified as “domestic terrorism.” (Image: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to offer protection to school personnel, executives, and teachers just days after a school board association wrote to President Biden asking for the mobilization of federal law enforcement in response to anti-Critical Race Theory protests.

On Sept. 29 the National School Boards Association (NSBA) penned a six-page letter to Biden complaining of “attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks” and “physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.”

“This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class,” claimed the Association.

The NSBA thanked Biden for both his COVID-19 measures and funding disbursed to the education system from various spending packages while asking the federal government to exercise “existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces, and other extraordinary measures” in order to “ensure the safety of our children and educators…and to preserve public school infrastructure.”

The letter asked for the deployment of the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center, and the FBI as the NSBA claimed that “acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials” should be conflated to the level of “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

The deployment of the PATRIOT Act and a Presidential Executive Order were also requested by the Association. 

In a sentence asking for “joint collaboration” between federal and local law enforcement to “focus on these threats,” the NSBA cited a Sept. 1 article from the Editorial Board of Washington-area media outlet HeraldNet that denounced attendees of a protest outside a Marysville School District board meeting against Governor Jay Inslee’s mask and mandatory vaccine mandates for yelling obscenities, banging on windows, and giving a Board official a hard time as they tried to drive away from the meeting. 

On Oct. 4, AG Garland penned a memo to the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys General’s office published on the Justice Department’s website that states, “In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

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

Garland then instructed the FBI to work with United States Attorneys in each of the country’s 14,000 public school districts 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,” read the letter.

In a press release accompanying Garland’s memo, the Department of Justice cited “an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools.”

It also noted, “The Justice Department will also create specialized training and guidance for local school boards and school administrators.” 

“This training will help school board members and other potential victims understand the type of behavior that constitutes threats, how to report threatening conduct to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and how to capture and preserve evidence of threatening conduct to aid in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.” 

According to Fox News, on Oct. 5, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) directly challenged Garland on the issue in a letter, calling the AG’s Memorandum an “alarming departure” from what Garland told the Senate under oath during his confirmation hearing

Hawley characterized CRT as “a direct rejection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principle that individuals should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”

The Senator continued, “Americans have responded to this radical ideology by winning elections for local school boards and protesting peacefully at school board meetings. Yet your memo yesterday to the FBI and local U.S. Attorneys ignored all of this and warned of an insurgence of ‘threats of violence’ and ‘efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.’”

“I certainly share your view that threats of violence have no place in this country, but the backdrop of your memo strongly suggests that your concern is not violence, but democratic pushback against critical race theory.”

“Your announcement, just days after the NSBA’s letter, is alarming. There is no place for the federal government to interfere with regular democratic activity,” said Sen. Hawley. “You have provided no evidence of actual, genuine threats of violence. It instead appears that you have decided to use federal resources to help interest groups like the NSBA tar proponents of King’s vision as enemies of the republic.”

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.