A number of House Republicans are demanding that Attorney General Merrick Garland withdraw a Department of Justice memo instructing the FBI to target anti-critical race theory parents that show up to school board meetings.
At the end of September, the National School Board Association sent a letter to the White House demanding that parents who have protested against school board meetings be labelled as “domestic terrorists,” because they are allegedly putting teachers under “immediate threat” from “physical violence.” The letter suggested that the parents could be persecuted by the FBI or DHS under the PATRIOT Act or other pieces of legislation.
In response, Attorney General Merrick Garland released a memo announcing it would, in fact, be weaponising the powers of the federal government against those concerned parents. “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” the memo read, adding that “threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.” No evidence of any violent threats was presented.
BREAKING: Attorney General Merrick Garland has instructed the FBI to mobilize against parents who oppose critical race theory in public schools, citing “threats.”
The letter follows the National School Board Association’s request to classify protests as “domestic terrorism.” pic.twitter.com/NhPU03YOYq
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 4, 2021
Garland was quizzed last week by Representative Louie Gohmert during an appearance in front of the Judiciary Committee, who suggested that Garland should “redo” the memo, “so it’s not perceived as being so threatening to people concerned about their kids’s education.” However, since no action was taken, 19 House Republicans, including Representatives Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Gohmert, and Thomas Massie, have now signed a letter, slamming his testimony as being “troubling,” and instructing him to completely withdraw the memo targeting the concerned parents.
The letter noted that not only did Garland send the “unusual directive soon after reading the thinly sourced letter” sent by the NSBA, but that he also did not know what the letter was talking about, with Garland totally “unaware” of a recent case in Loudoun County where a father “angrily confronted the school board” after his daughter was sexually assaulted by a trans-identified biological male student, which had been cited in the NSBA’s own letter as an example of domestic terrorism.
“During your testimony, you sidestepped the obvious effect of your ill-conceived memorandum and the chilling effect that invoking the full weight of the federal law enforcement apparatus would have on parents’ protected First Amendment speech,” the letter continued. “Parents have an undisputed right to direct the upbringing and education of their children, especially as school boards attempt to install controversial curricula. Local law enforcement—and not the FBI—are the appropriate authorities to address any local threats or violence.”
On Friday, the NSBA formally disavowed and apologised for their original letter. “There was no justification for some of the language used in the letter,” they said, saying they were sorry for the “strain and stress” caused by the situation. Given the NSBA’s disavowal, the letter concluded that “the only responsible course of action” for Garland is to “fully and unequivocally” withdraw the memo immediately.