Of all the political miscalculations made by the Biden administration, threatening concerned parents with the FBI is among the largest. A year ago, the Department of Justice issued a memo directing the FBI to address threats against school board members, citing threats against their safety.
Those supposed threats were outlined in a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA), sent one year ago this week, which likened concerned parents to potential domestic terrorists.
Evidence suggests that both the White House and the U.S. Department of Education may have been involved in the letter’s origin. To this day, both have failed to explain away serious questions about the letter’s provenance.
We know that the White House was in touch with the National School Boards Association prior to the letter heard ‘round the world, though details about that interaction are virtually nonexistent.
The Education Department appears to have been in contact with the NSBA as well: In an Oct. 5, 2021 email, an NSBA official discussed the CEO “[telling] the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.”
The Education Department denied Cardona solicited the letter. If Cardona requested a different letter, what different letter is it? Pointing to another letter would do much to dispel suspicion that Cardona asked for the infamous letter. Neither the Department nor the NSBA has made a peep.
Around the time of the “domestic terrorists” letter, at least one NSBA official would have been in touch with the Department of Education. Viola Garcia, the then-NSBA president who signed the letter to President Biden, was appointed by Sec. Cardona to the National Assessments Governing Board in October 2021. If the Department of Education disagreed in any way with what NSBA had done, it sure had an odd way of showing it.
Public reaction to the now-infamous letter was swift and decisive. Less than a month after its sending, just weeks after Garcia’s appointment, the NSBA said that it “regret[s] and apologize[s] for the letter.”
The apology was the NSBA’s plea for survival, and it was barely successful: A total of 31 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the organization and 26 state affiliates have walked away from NSBA membership. This should be the fate of every organization that demonizes parents who want what is best for their kids. Membership in such an organization should be an embarrassment. Teachers’ unions—which function more like Democrat lobbying groups—are chief among these anti-family organizations.
In contrast, the federal government does not seem to regret nor apologize for its response. The letter, it seems, was useful for their political ends: Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Johnson say that whistleblowers approached their offices with evidence that the DOJ applied a counter-terrorism “threat tag” to investigations of parents who protested school COVID policies.
The DOJ memo still stands, surrounded by controversy, but nevertheless looming over parents who dare criticize the people miseducating their children.