On Monday, a group of Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding he “fully and unequivocally withdraw” his memorandum to the FBI that “target[ed] concerned parents at school board meetings.”
“Your testimony before the Judiciary Committee last week concerning your October 4, 2021, memorandum targeting concerned parents at school board meetings was troubling. You acknowledged that you issued the unusual directive soon after reading about the thinly sourced letter sent by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Biden and not because of any specific request from state or local law enforcement,” the letter began. “You appeared to be surprised that the Department’s press release publicizing your memorandum noted the involvement of the National Security Division, the Departmental component responsible for prosecuting terrorism cases—despite testifying that concerned parents expressing themselves is protected First Amendment activity. You admitted to being completely unaware of a widely reported, high-profile case in Loudoun County, Virginia, cited in the NSBA’s letter as an example of domestic terrorism, in which a father angrily confronted the local school board about the heinous sexual assault of his daughter.”
“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, 4 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.”
The letter concluded by pointing out that the NSBA had recently apologized for their original letter that prompted Garland’s memorandum.
“On October 22, 2021, the NSBA expressed regret about and formally apologized for its letter to President Biden,” the group of Republicans wrote. “Because the NSBA letter was the basis for your memorandum and given that your memorandum has been and will continue to be read as threatening parents and chilling their protected First Amendment rights, the only responsible course of action is for you to fully and unequivocally withdraw your memorandum immediately.”
In the NSBA’s original letter, the NSBA suggested that parents disrupting school board meetings were committing actions that could be considered domestic terrorism.
“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 said.
“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 added.