A school board organization, which had rarely been heard of on a national scale, has made public enemies of parents and multiple states. The National School Board Association (NSBA) is now the focus of the ire of parents after calling their protests similar to acts of “domestic terrorism.” As a result, five state boards declared they will withdraw their membership from the organization.
The Washington Examiner reported that the Louisiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri boards said that they officially withdrew from the NSBA because of the NSBA’s inflammatory letter. Three other state boards, Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky, said that they are reassessing their membership with the NSBA.
The Ohio and Missouri boards specifically cited the NSBA letter, which was sent to the Biden administration, for their withdrawal. Both state boards criticized the NSBA for the letter due to a lack of input from members before publishing the letter.
Ohio School Boards Association President Robert Heard and CEO Richard Lewis said the letter “could not be further from the truth” and that the NSBA did not consult the Ohio group for input. “If we had been consulted, we would have strongly disagreed with NSBA’s decision to request federal intervention as well as your claims of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” their statement read. It added, “[Ohio] believes strongly in the value of parental and community discussion at school board meetings and we reject the labeling of parents as domestic terrorists.”
The Missouri representatives echoed similar sentiments, although on a more diplomatic level, when it said that the NSBA letter “demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.”
Although the NSBA apologized for the letter, it did not withdraw or rescind the letter and the Department of Justice’s newly-created task force will likely continue to spy on parents who criticize their local school boards. Attorney General Merrick Garland claimed that his department will not infringe on parents’ First Amendments rights to freedom of speech and assembly, but did not say if the task force will be dissolved after the NSBA apology.
Based on the NSBA’s website, membership with the organization includes legal clips, an online discussion forum for members, electronic journal access, email updates on federal rulemaking and agencies, school law practice series, seminar papers, school law seminars, and live and recorded webinars.
In other words, cutting one’s membership with the NSBA saves money and the tradeoff is not having “exclusive access” to a legal law library or online community.
The NSBA appeared to make a major misstep and lost five state members (and possibly three more) because of their politically-charged letter.