News and Analysis

Michigan Parents Suing Attorney General Over DOJ School Board Memo
Students arrive at an elementary school during the first day of classes in Novi, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 7 2021. Oakland County has issued a mandate requiring all K-12 students and teachers to wear masks inside schools due to the high Covid-19 transmission rate in the county. Photographer: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A group of parents in the State of Michigan are suing Attorney General Merrick Garland over the release of a memo that could ultimately direct the FBI to investigate parents groups and individuals attending school board meetings.

The Washington Examiner reports that the conservative American Freedom Law Center is representing families in the school district of Saline, Michigan, in a suit seeking an injunction on the DOJ’s “recently announced policy … to use federal law enforcement resources to silence parents and other private citizens who publicly object to and oppose the divisive, harmful, immoral, and racist policies of the ‘progressive’ Left that are being implemented by school boards and school officials in public school districts throughout the United States, including in the public schools in Saline, Michigan, and in Loudoun County, Virginia.”

The suit is filed in the District Court of Washington, D.C. 

“Plaintiffs believe, and it is the law in many states, including Michigan and Virginia, as well as a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, that it is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children,” the lawsuit read.

“As parents and concerned citizens, Plaintiffs have a right to publicly object to the divisive, false, harmful, and immoral curricula and policies being advanced by SAS [Saline Area Schools] and LCPS [Loudoun County Public Schools]. This right to publicly criticize SAS and LCPS includes the right to do so vociferously and even stridently,” the group noted.

 The lawsuit continues, criticizing the Attorney General, Virginia Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, and other progressives. It quotes McAuliffe’s response to a question from a recent Virginia Gubernatorial debate, in which McAuliffe said “[I] don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

The lawsuit continues:

Parents and private citizens who fund our public schools through their hard-earned tax dollars, including Plaintiffs, are rightly outraged by the notion that parents must surrender their children, under compulsion of law, to school officials who are bent on indoctrinating these young students with false, divisive, harmful, immoral, and racist dogma and ideology…

Just because parents and legal guardians are forced to send their children to public school, this does not mean that they surrender their rights as parents to direct the education of their children, particularly as it relates to religious, moral, and political issues… 

Unfortunately, many public schools, including those in SAS and in LCPS, have come under the influence and power of “progressives” who are using these publicly-funded schools to promote the divisive, false, harmful, immoral, and racist agenda of the “progressive” Left. Rather than focusing on core subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and science, these schools are using their power of compulsion to indoctrinate children with a divisive, false, harmful, immoral, and racist agenda…

Parents and concerned citizens, including Plaintiffs, rightfully object to the implementation of such divisive, false, harmful, immoral, and racist policies and programs in their public schools. And these parents and citizens, including Plaintiffs, rightfully express their outrage and objections to these programs during school board meetings—meetings which are open to the public and open for public comment—and in other public forums. Indeed, school board meetings are public forums where speech touching upon matters of public concern is fully protected by the First Amendment.

The memo from AG Garland to the FBI was published on Oct. 4. In it, Garland instructs the directors of the FBI and the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, and the U.S. Attorneys to investigate a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff” of public schools throughout the nation.

The memo was written in response to a letter from the National School Boards Association to President Joe Biden asking for federal assistance “to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

The letter lists a number of alleged incidents of intimidation, including the June 22 arrest of Scott Smith, the father of an LCPS student, who, The Daily Wire reported, attended the meeting to hear testimony on a proposed gender-neutral bathroom policy after his daughter was allegedly sexually assaulted during school. 

“Contrary to the Attorney General’s false assertion, there is no widespread criminality at school board meetings where parents and concerned citizens have expressed their opposition and outrage to the “progressive” agenda being forced upon their children in the public schools,” the lawsuit says. “There is no widespread threat of criminal violence at these meetings. Instead, these meetings involve private citizens expressing their opposition to harmful policies being considered by government officials [and] petitioning their government officials for a redress of grievances, as is their right to do under the First Amendment.”

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