The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) has announced it is leaving its membership with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) following a letter the group sent to the Department of Justice asking it to crack down on “threats of violence and acts of intimidation” at local school board meetings which “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell shared the announcement in a press release on Monday following an independent investigation into the letter commissioned by the NSBA.
“We have been intently waiting for the release of this independent investigation for nearly two months,” TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell said in the statement.
“With this report now available, it’s clear that NSBA’s internal processes and controls do not meet the good governance practices that TASB expects and requires in a member organization,” he added.
Troxell added that the NSBA’s new leadership had made some improvements, but the changes were not enough to alter the TASB’s decision.
“Our decision to end our membership in the NSBA will not impact TASB’s work to ensure Texas public education has a strong voice and presence in Washington, D.C.,” Troxell stated. “As always, we’re focused on supporting our members and the advancement of their advocacy agenda — both here in Austin and in our nation’s capital.”
The TASB represents more than 5.4 million students across Texas, making it one of the largest school board associations in the nation.
The decision makes Texas one of 30 states that have “distanced” themselves from the association in recent months over a controversial letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland. Many have left the NSBA.
Parents Defending Education, a nonprofit that describes itself as “a national grassroots organization working to reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas,” listed the following states that have all distanced themselves from the NSBA: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The independent investigation noted that while the NSBA had previously apologized for the letter, that interim CEO and executive director Chip Slaven “was behind the Letter, both in origin and substance” and prematurely had exchanges with a senior education advisor at the White House on the letter’s release, according to Fox News.
“Slaven wrote the letter in ‘response to the growing tensions at local school board meetings made manifest by the divide in public opinion in the then-ongoing debate about when and how public-school students should return to in-person instruction’ following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the NSBA report said,” Fox reported.
The Daily Wire previously reported that Senate Republicans had called for Garland to return to Capitol Hill and face additional questions about the Justice Department’s role in addressing tensions between parents and school boards in November.
“We remain deeply concerned that your October 4 Memorandum is being used by the DOJ and the FBI as a basis to pursue investigations against American parents for First Amendment-protected activities,” the letter read.
Senate Judiciary GOP calls upon AG Merrick Garland to testify before them again: “We remain deeply concerned that your October 4 Memorandum is being used by the DOJ and the FBI as a basis to pursue investigations against American parents for First Amendment-protected activities.” pic.twitter.com/yMrnJ8iuCu
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) November 30, 2021
“You stated that the ‘purpose of this Memorandum is to get our law enforcement to assess the extent of the problem’ and that the Memo ‘comes before investigations.’ When asked why the DOJ was treating parents at school boards as domestic terrorists, you said: ‘[m]y Memo says nothing about domestic terrorism, says nothing about parents committing any such things,” the letter continued.