A group representing school boards across the country asked President Joe Biden to enforce federal statutes that combat terrorism to address violence and threats directed toward school board members and public schools in a Wednesday letter.
A letter from the National School Boards Association asked the Biden administration to use statutes such as the Gun-Free School Zones Act and the USA PATRIOT Act to stop threats and violence directed toward school board members over actions that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” according to the letter.
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” the NSBA wrote in the letter.
The letter asks for “federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”
The letter makes reference to several issues surrounding school boards, which have been battlegrounds for culture wars over how districts are handling mask rules, COVID-19 vaccinations, schools reopening, Critical Race Theory and remote learning.
It also called on Biden to use the U.S. Postal Service “to intervene against threatening letters and cyberbullying attacks,” citing growing threats from “extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings.”
The letter blamed “propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction” for “attacks against school board members and educators.”
“This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class,” the letter added.
Education Week pressed NSBA’s Interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven, who said the organization’s main goals in calling for a coordinated effort between local, state and federal law enforcement was “safety and deterrence” over incidents that “are beyond random acts.”
“What we are now seeing is a pattern of threats and violence occurring across state lines and via online platforms, which is why we need the federal government’s assistance,” Slaven told Education Week.
The letter also cited “watchlists” which are “spreading misinformation that boards are adopting critical race theory curriculum and working to maintain online learning by haphazardly attributing it to COVID-19.”
The online group included Beth Barts, a member of the Loudoun County school board, which prompted an effort led by parents and community members to remove her and five of her fellow board members.
Shortly after the discovery of the Facebook group, an advisory board at Loudoun County Public Schools posted and then deleted social media posts that declared anti-CRT activists “can and will” be silenced.
Other instances of the sort about which the NSBA complains include a Fairfax County NAACP official that said to “let them die” with regard to anti-CRT individuals.
An employer of an anti-CRT activist in Loudoun County received a flyer that said “You should be ashamed to employ a known and active racist!”
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