Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI on Monday to begin investigating a recent spike in “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school administrators.
The Department of Justice published a memo by Garland directing U.S. attorneys and the FBI to work with local officials to identify and curb threats to school administrators.
“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,” the memo said, without citing specific examples. “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, the protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.”
“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,” it continued.
Garland said that FBI and DOJ officials should work with local and state officials to develop plans to “discourage” threats and potentially prosecute violators.
“The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate,” Garland wrote, adding that the DOJ would announce a plan to combat the rise the threats “in the coming days.”
Garland’s memo comes after a summer of raucous school board meetings in which parents and community members challenged school officials over the adoption of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other contentious subjects into school curriculum. Parents have also pressured school boards to drop school mask mandates in many places they have been implemented.
CRT contends that many of the United States’ key institutions and traditions are based in slavery and supported through white supremacy. The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” a series of essays adapted into a format that can be used by educators, is based on CRT and posits that the true founding of the United States dates back to 1619 when the first slave ship arrived in America.
The adoption of CRT, sexually explicit content, and other subjects sparked a backlash among parents and community leaders who demanded greater oversight of what their children are learning in school.
Fairfax County Public Schools pulled two books from its library last month after one parent read selections from them during the middle of a school board meeting, revealing their sexually explicit content.
“After seeing a September 9th school board meeting in Texas on pornography in schools, I decided to check the titles at my child’s high school, Fairfax High School. The books were available, and we checked them out. Both of these books include pedophilia, sex between men and boys,” parent Stacy Langton said a school board meeting on September 23. “The illustrations include fellatio, sex toys, masturbation, and violent nudity.”
In August, The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh confronted members of the Metro Nashville school board over the forced masking of students. As The Daily Wire reported:
In his speech, Walsh called on school board members to present evidence to back up their universal mask mandate for all students at school, then went on to cite official data on total number of cases for children since the beginning of the pandemic, around 4.2 million, and the extremely low death rate among children, which Walsh compared to the common flu. Forcing students to be masked, he argued, is “cruel” and a form of “child abuse.”