Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday he has dispatched the FBI to help address an alleged "disturbing spike" of "harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence" against school administrators, school board members, and other school personnel.
What did Garland say?
In a memorandum, Garland said the Justice Department is "committed to using its authority and resources" to address the alleged threats and violence.
Garland, however, did not specify what threats existed or if any crimes had been committed.
In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.
Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation's nearly 14,000 public school districts. To this end, I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum.
What spurred this announcement?
Videos of parents confronting school officials have circulated on social media all year. Between battling for in-person instruction, against face mask and vaccine mandates, and voicing opposition to critical race theory, parents have prioritized voicing their concerns over a myriad of divisive issues.
Garland's action, according to the Associated Press, is a response to an "urgent request" from the National School Boards Association for assistance from President Joe Biden.
Last week, the NSBA wrote Biden and claimed school board members are "under an immediate threat." The organization requested swift action from the Justice Department, FBI, Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, the National Threat Assessment Center, and the U.S. Postal Service.
"Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula," the letter stated.
The NSBA even urged the government to classify the alleged threats and intimidation as "domestic terrorism" and "hate crimes."
"As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes," the letter stated.
The NSBA letter listed more than 20 instances to demonstrate the pattern of intimidation, threats, and violence they allege school boards nationwide are experiencing.