School board group backtracks on letter for security help from DOJ
NSBA WALKS IT BACK: The National School Boards Association has apologized for a letter that called on President Joe Biden to use the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, its National Threat Assessment Center and other federal agencies to stop “threats and acts of violence” on school officials during school board meetings.
— About a month after the association sent its initial plea letter to the Biden administration, the NSBA has faced outrage on all sides — from its members, state attorneys general, lawmakers and parent advocacy groups. These critics say the involvement of the FBI in school board meetings would chill parents’ free speech. “The NSBA seems more concerned about suppressing speech with which it disagrees than real threats of violence,” more than a dozen attorneys general wrote.
— Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, a group “working to reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas,” said her group has emailed 47 state school board associations for comment on the NSBA’s Sept. 29 letter. Neily said 19 have distanced themselves from the group’s letter, and many state school boards said they had not been made aware of the NSBA’s request ahead of time.
— “On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter,” a memo from NSBA’s board to its members said. “There was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance. We apologize also for the strain and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations.”