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The National School Boards Association coordinated with the White House and the Department of Justice for weeks before sending the infamous letter that compared protesting parents to domestic terrorists, emails reported by Fox News reveal.
The NSBA letter to Biden claimed that school board members across the country were under "immediate threat" of violence following numerous raucous school board meetings over the summer that became highly publicized. Outraged parents were confronting school officials over coronavirus restrictions, critical race theory in schools, pornographic content in libraries, transgender bathroom policies, and more.
Language in the letter compared these protesting parents to domestic terrorists, which drew widespread criticism and led to 11 state school board associations withdrawing membership from the NSBA. On Oct. 22, the NSBA issued an apology for the letter.
In one email, NSBA executive Chip Slaven discussed the letter that was sent to President Joe Biden, revealing that the NSBA had been communicating with the White House "for weeks" before it was sent.
"In talks over the last several weeks with White House staff, they requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring," Slaven wrote in a September 29, 2021, email to the NSBA board of directors.
In another email, NSBA president Garcia sent a memo to NSBA members dated Oct. 12 that details a timeline of the NSBA's communications with the White House before sending the letter to Biden on Sept. 29.
"Concern over the current climate for school board members is also a top priority as disruptions at school board meetings grow and members face growing threats," Garcia wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Parents Defending Education via a Freedom of Information Act request. "NSBA has been actively engaged with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Surgeon General, and other federal agencies on pandemic related issues."
"In the September 14, 2021 meeting of the [NSBA Organization of State Association Executive Directors] liaison group, they were informed there had been a meeting with White House staff that morning and that NSBA was preparing to send a letter to the President. Subsequently, on September 17, 2021, the interim Executive Director emailed a notice to the state association executive directors that indicated a letter requesting federal assistance would be sent."
"In response to the letter sent by NSBA, on October 4, 2021 the Attorney General announced in a memorandum widely shared throughout the U.S. Department of Justice that he was ordering all U.S. Attorney Offices and local FBI offices to reach out to local and state law enforcement officials to coordinate efforts on this problem within 30 days of the memorandum," Garcia wrote.
The DOJ memo directed federal law enforcement to investigate threats of violence against school boards, which drew even more criticism from some accusing the Biden administration of "weaponizing" the DOJ against parents.
Fox News reports that the memo from Garcia appears to contradict Attorney General Merrick Garland's Oct. 27 testimony to Congress on the matter.
This statement appears to contradict Attorney General Merrick Garland's testimony to Congress on Oct. 27. When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked Garland if he had "second thoughts" following NSBA's apology for the letter, he said that the DOJ memorandum did not rely upon the letter.
"The letter that was subsequently sent does not change the association's concern of violence or threats of violence. It alters some of the language in the letter … that we did not rely on and is not contained in my own memorandum," Garland said.
Neither Garland nor the DOJ responded to Fox News' request for comment by press time.
On Oct. 26, Garcia was appointed by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to sit on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees and sets policy that measures student performance.
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