Criticism of local school boards has intensified in the past year during school shutdowns along with opposition to mask mandates policies due to the coronavirus pandemic, incurring the ire of the Biden administration. The Department of Justice (DOJ), under Attorney General Merrick Garland, said it will combat threats “of violence” against school board members across the country.
Garland, in a statement cited by Fox News, said, “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.” He added, “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”
Garland, a former Supreme Court justice nominee under Barack Obama, shed all perception of nonpartisanship in this latest maneuver. His announcement also created a task force to oversee the effort and determine how to leverage federal authority to prosecute crimes against school board officials. The DOJ will offer specialized training to school boards and administrators to help them report incidents to law enforcement.
Critics immediately called Garland’s move a political one to bully parents from voicing their First Amendment rights. Several leaders of the anti-mask mandate and anti-Critical Race Theory grassroots groups publicly condemned Garland’s intimidation tactics. Fox News host Tucker Carlson interviewed one parent and activist, Elana Fishbein, who said, “I was elevated to the status of domestic terrorist by the… Biden administration.” She called the DOJ’s action “outrageous” and “insane” and said it is “puzzling” why parents cannot gain easy access to public school curriculum.
The same critics also point out the hypocrisy of the Biden administration, whose progressive supporters spout anti-police rhetoric, found it convenient to trust law enforcement to muzzle parents and critics of Critical Race Theory.
Garland’s announcement came soon after the National School Boards Association issued a statement that concerned parents were engaging in “domestic terrorism” against school board members. The statement also called for the Biden administration to use the USA PATRIOT Act to monitor activist parents.