The National School Board Association (NSBA) recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden about the “immediate threat” of parent violence against school board members and educators. The reception of this letter led Attorney General Merrick Garland to call on the FBI to “use its authority” against these threats.
“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 NSBA wildly claimed.
But the letter only mentions around 20 total “threats” across numerous states. Many of them, aside from a couple isolated cases, consist of nothing more than parents and residents expressing their anger or disrupting meetings.
In a word, many of these “threats” did not appear to actually threaten people with serious harm, which calls into question the forceful and intimidating federal response.
The reported incidents occurred in roughly 17 different states, with the NSBA letter footnoting and linking to various news articles about these incidents. Yet in the vast majority of cases the stories have covered “contentious meetings” and “disruption.” Very few of the incidents involved actual violence or statements that could be legitimately interpreted as threatening serious harm.
“Protesters disrupt Poway Unified board meeting, cause its adjournment,” reads one headline.
“School board meeting turns contentious over COVID-19 policies,” reads another.
“Grand Ledge school board meeting goes into recess due to public ‘disruption,'” reads still another.
The NSBA refers to just three instances where someone was arrested at a school board meeting for “disorderly conduct” or “trespassing.” The letter frequently uses the word “threats” without qualification and never specifically mentions “death threats” as a widespread problem.
In general, school board meetings have only recently returned in-person after a year-and-a-half online. Pent-up frustration after at least a year of online instruction, which gave parents a full window into what really goes on in the classroom, has boiled over into anger.
The anger has arisen in response to onerous, indefinite mask mandates and social distancing guidelines as necessary conditions of in-person instruction, as well as perceived indoctrination on “equity,” “systemic racism,” and “LGBT” ideology — examples of critical race theory and cultural Marxism. Many parents view these ideologies as divisive and overly political at best, or downright dehumanizing and evil at worst.
In all likelihood there will be more hostile school board meetings to come. FDA approval of a COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is coming down the pike, and on Oct. 1 California became the first U.S. state to require COVID vaccination for K-12 students. It may only be a matter of time before other states follow suit, which is sure to stoke more parent outrage.