School group blames ex-director for letter that suggested parents were terrorists

Merrick Garland
Merrick Garland

The National School Boards Association has announced it is changing some of its procedures after it was caught up in a scandal involving a reported request from the Biden administration to dispatch a letter characterizing parents as domestic terrorists.

The administration then used that letter as the foundation for Attorney General Merrick Garland to order federal agents to investigate various parents.

The NASB eventually withdrew its letter, even as the Biden administration continued to act on it.

Now the organization said it has the results of its own investigation into the Sept. 29, 2021, “letter sent from the NSBA to President Biden requesting federal investigation of and assistance with events at school board meetings.”

The group said it determined the letter was “principally directed, reviewed, and approved by” NSBA’s former Interim Director Chip Slaven, who was responsible for both the “origin and substance of the letter.”

Further, the letter was reviewed by only four board officers, and was not widely approved within the organization. It sought investigations of parents under the federal Patriot Act, suggesting parental objections to social agendas by school boards “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

It later was reported that an association official “talked to the White House” days before Garland “ordered the FBI to investigate complaints of threats from parents.”

The actual situation was that school boards would characterize parental objections or concerns as threats. For instance, voter promises that parents would be coming after board members in the next election was called a threat.

The review of the situation was done by attorney Philip Kiko and the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, the NSBA said.

“The letter directly contradicts our core commitments to parent engagement, local control, and nonpartisanship,” said NSBA Executive Director John Heim. “The sentiments shared in the letter do not represent the views or position of the NSBA. The NSBA does not seek or advocate for federal law enforcement intervention at local school board meetings.”

He continued, “Sending the letter without full board approval highlighted a concerning lack of internal process and accountability and harmed the mission of our organization.”

Board President Frank S. Henderson Jr. admitted the letter should never have been sent.

The organization also said it has amended its constitution to refine the scope of its advocacy, adopted a resolution opposing federal intrusion, and restated that, “NSBA believes school boards must lead through community engagement, particularly with parents and guardians of the students they serve.”

“Looking ahead, I am eager to continue our joint focus on the most important work at hand – ensuring that every child has equitable access to excellent education,” Heim said. “We must continue to prioritize the pressing topics impacting our students and teachers – this work includes supporting historically disadvantaged students, increasing broadband internet access to close the ‘homework gap,’ ensuring every classroom is staffed with a highly qualified teacher, supporting students with disabilities and mental health needs, and addressing the learning loss stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It was the Daily Caller News Foundation that explained the NSBA dispatched a letter to the White House “equating the acts of concerned parents at local school board meetings to ‘domestic terrorism and hate crimes’ and requesting federal intervention.”

The result was that even as the letter was withdrawn because of the reaction, the federal government was, in fact, investigating some parents.

The political agenda so offended many members of the boards’ association that at least 27 state associations have distanced themselves from the national group, some dropping out entirely.

A report said Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming state chapters have “distanced themselves” from the NSBA.

Dropping membership entirely were Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Board member John W. Halkias earlier condemned the letter, warning that it had “re-awakened hostilities that were just beginning to finally calm down.”

For 25 years, WND has boldly brought you the news that really matters. If you appreciate our Christian journalists and their uniquely truthful reporting and analysis, please help us by becoming a WND Insider!

If you like WND, get the news that matters most delivered directly to your inbox – for FREE!

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].


This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

Related Posts