Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to resign on Friday after Garland admitted that his memo directing the FBI to crack down on “harassment” at school board meetings was sparked by an interest group complaint not backed by statistical data.
“Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without legal basis and, we now know, premised on misinformation he didn’t bother to verify. It was a dangerous abuse of authority that has badly compromised the Justice Dept’s integrity and Garland’s. He should resign,” Hawley tweeted on Friday.
Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without legal basis and, we now know, premised on misinformation he didn’t bother to verify. It was a dangerous abuse of authority that has badly compromised the Justice Dept’s integrity and Garland’s. He should resign. https://t.co/MXKN5j0L5g
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 23, 2021
The Missouri senator shared a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) walking back an earlier letter pushing the Biden administration to intervene in the ongoing “chaos” at local school board meetings across the country.
“On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter,” the NSBA said in a letter Friday. “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 this 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. We apologize also for the strain and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations.”
“As we’ve reiterated since the letter was sent, we deeply value not only the work of local school boards that make important contributions within our communities, but also the voices of parents, who should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education, health, and safety,” the group continued.
The NSBA sent a letter to President Joe Biden in late September pushing him to order federal law enforcement to crack down on school board meetings, citing “attacks against school board members” over forced masking policies and curricula including Critical Race Theory.
“Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula,” the NSBA’s September letter said.
The letter went on to claim that the attacks could be classified as a form of “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 letter said.
Garland admitted on Friday during a Senate hearing that he had tasked the FBI with cracking down on “harassment” and “threats” at school board meetings in response to the NSBA letter. Garland’s order to the FBI, written in an October 4 memo, was widely condemned and accused of targeting parents.
The NSBA, which represents state-level school board associations, also faced backlash among its own members after its September letter.