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The National School Boards Association has issued an apology for a letter it sent to the Biden administration late last month that asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to crack down on “threats of violence and acts of intimidation” at local school board meetings.
Days after the letter was sent, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced he was ordering the FBI to investigate a recent spike in “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school board members. The original NSBA letter asked the Biden administration to use the Patriot Act to look into “acts of malice, violence and threats against public school officials,” which the association said “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
On Friday, the NSBA apologized for that letter and the language it used. In addition, the association apologized for not getting prior approval from the organization’s board to send the letter.
“On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter,” the organization wrote in a letter to NSBA members. “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 apology continued.
Breaking: In the wake of yesterday’s @FreeBeacon report, National School Board Association announces “we regret and apologize for the letter” to Biden admin characterizing concerned parents as potentially domestic terrorists pic.twitter.com/3RBufvWqAN
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) October 23, 2021
The NSBA said in its apology that it would launch a formal review of its processes and procedures and announce “specific improvements” that will be made.
The apology was sent one day after The Washington Free Beacon reported on emails obtained by Parents Defending Education that showed the NSBA collaborated with the White House before sending the letter. The emails show that the NSBA’s president and CEO sent the letter to the Biden administration on September 29 without prior approval from the organization’s board. The emails also showed that the White House asked the NSBA for examples of the alleged threats against school board members just one day before Garland announced the task force that would look into those threats.
“The letter makes clear that the White House was aware of the letter before it was released, while raising questions about whether the White House colluded with the association on the letter to prompt federal action,” the Free Beacon reported.
The DOJ’s plans to target school board meetings have drawn backlash across the country, with 17 Republican State Attorneys General accusing the Biden administration of attempting to “chill lawful dissent by parents voiced during local school board meetings.”
In addition, at least 11 state-level school boards distanced themselves from the NSBA after its unpopular letter, The Daily Wire reported.