America First Legal formally requests an ‘investigation regarding potential improprieties’ of Merrick’s memo
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently characterized the effort of parents who engage in passionate opposition to forced masking and the indoctrination of their children through critical race theory (CRT) as a form of “domestic terrorism.” In response, a Florida mom equates the weaponization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against parents trying to protect their children to “using dogs and water hoses on black Americans fighting for civil rights.”
How it Began
On Oct. 4, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo instructing the director of the FBI addressing what he described as “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”
The memo was in response to a Sept. 29 letter (pdf) from the NSBA to the Biden administration comparing what it describes as “attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees” and “physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula” as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
For this, the NSBA’s letter “specifically solicits the expertise and resources of the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, and its National Threat Assessment Center regarding the level of risk to public school children, educators, board members, and facilities/campuses.”
The NSBA also requested “assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to intervene against threatening letters and cyberbullying attacks that have been transmitted to students, school board members, district administrators, and other educators.”
“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views” Garland stated in his memo to the FBI. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”
Parents Speak Out
According to Quisha King, the government knows that the growing number of parents who are going to school board meetings to voice their opinions against CRT are gaining a lot of attention, and “they want to do everything possible to shut that down.”
King—the Florida mom whose comments before the Duval County School Board went viral on social media in June—said the school board members who are determined to push their agenda are now so desperate to stop the momentum of the parents who oppose them “they will use the government against its own people” to silence them.
“We probably never thought that would happen in America,” King told The Epoch Times. “It’s outrageous.”
Asked if the threat to use the FBI to treat parents who oppose CRT at school board meetings as domestic terrorists would dissuade her from speaking out in the future, King said “absolutely not.”
“In fact, I think this is going to backfire,” King asserted. “You’re going to see even more parents. Of all sides of the political spectrum, come out and say ‘wait a minute, the FBI is coming after parents who just want to give their children the best life possible.’ This isn’t going to dissuade us. It’s only going to rally more of us.”
While King concedes there may have been instances of parents expressing anger at meetings or sending inappropriate emails, she is unaware of anyone erupting into violence or harming any school board members. King also said the threat to use the power of the FBI to shut down parents who are turning out in increasing numbers to stand up for their children at school board meetings is only going to open the eyes of parents who have “been teetering” on the idea of pulling their children from public schools altogether and finally “tip them over the edge.”
During her speech at Thursday’s Family Research Council’s annual Pray Vote Stand Summit, King received an extended standing ovation when she suggested parents stage a “mass exodus” from the public system. Asked to expand on that statement, King said she has already begun working on the idea by speaking to parents who may be hesitant and working with them to find solutions before setting a specific date to stage the “mass exodus” on a national level.
“Anyone who is involved in wanting to have freedom and liberty in this country and believes in what this country stands for is being attacked,” Duval County, Florida, resident April Carney told The Epoch Times, saying part of the reason why she chose to run for a position on the school board is because the choices of parents are systematically being taken away.
“Those of us who are parents and are thoroughly involved in our child’s education, we want to be included in the decision making process regarding the curriculum and the rules and regulations that are being put in place in schools,” Carney said. “That has completely stopped. There’s been too much activism brought into the classroom and not enough emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic, science and our students are failing because of that.”
“Our first problem as Americans is we aren’t naming the enemy,” Karen Schoen, a former educator and dean in the New York school system told The Epoch Times, suggesting that the real enemy are the “globalist communists” seated in positions of power on both sides of the political aisle.
“Communism cannot have opposition or descent,” Schoen insisted. “They will not tolerate anybody who calls them out, and now that Americans are fighting back they are weaponizing government agencies to shut down any descent.”
“We don’t want to co-parent with the government,” Jessico Bowman told The Epoch Times. “We want to be involved in our children’s education and upbringing because that’s our responsibility.”
“If the DOJ wants to classify that as domestic terrorism that’s really the DOJ’s problem,” Charles Bowman added, saying that when it comes down to it, the community will rally together. “We are going to voice our opinion and we are going to support the people who want to voice their opinions.”
“Who gets to decide what’s a threat versus just an angry parent speaking out?” Jessico asked. “Do we trust them [the government] to make that determination for us at the federal level?”
“If you as parents are not going to advocate for the best interests of your children then who will,” Charles interjected. “Like Jessico said, we’re not interested in co-parenting with the government at all. But it is our responsibility as parents to make sure our children are safe. If we don’t, we can be labeled as cowards.”
As The Epoch Times reported in August, the Bowmans were recently embroiled in a struggle with the Flagler County school system regarding a surprise, random, haphazard COVID-19 protocol that had children being sent to isolation rooms, quarantined at home with requirements to undergo a series of COVID-19 tests and leaving confused parents scrambling to make sense of it all.
“They don’t want people speaking their mind,” Charles said. “They don’t want people having a voice in this process. This has always been part of the left’s playground in the public education system, so here you are, they’ve rattled the right to the point where conservatives are getting involved. Now they’re trying to figure out how to get the conservatives quiet again. They’ve overstepped, and now they’re trying to figure out how to regain control over the sandbox.
Conservative Organizations Join Parents
“What the NSBA did, requesting that the FBI weaponize the federal government against parents and grandparents is not only a strict violation of the First Amendment, it is the most egregious abuse of power I have seen recently,” Keith Flaugh, founder of the Florida Citizens Alliance told The Epoch Times.
“We are big supporters of the Tenth Amendment,” Flaugh added, “and I think this is going to force the issue of governors like Ron DeSantis to use the Tenth Amendment.”
The Tenth Amendment—passed by Congress on Sept. 25, 1789 and ratified Dec. 15, 1791—states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Flaugh further stated that this effort to use the power of the government against its own citizens is “also a beacon call to every constitutional sheriff in the country.”
“A constitutional sheriff has the legal authority and duty to interpose against the federal government when they are overreaching their constitutional authority,” Flaugh explained. “We’ve got a federal government that’s completely out of control and we’ve seen it manifest itself on a number of fronts. This is just the latest and most egregious. It is literally weaponizing the federal government against its citizens. And even though it will probably make me one of their targets I will be urging people to stand up and say I will not comply.”
“We’re urging people to do it peacefully,” Flaugh clarified, “but at the end of the day, I will not comply, period. Full stop.”
In an Oct. 7 letter (pdf) addressed to The Hon. Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General for the Department of Justice, Reed D. Rubinstein, Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight and Investigations for the America First Legal (AFL) Foundation formally requested an “Investigation Regarding Potential Improprieties Related to the October 4, 2021, Attorney General’s Memorandum.”
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized American parents’ fundamental liberty interest in and Constitutional right to control and direct the education of their own children,” Rubinstein states in the letter. However, Rubenstein asserts that the DOJ appears to be “committing the full weight of its federal law enforcement resources to prevent parents from exercising constitutionally-protected rights and privileges, for inappropriate partisan purposes.”
In addition, under the Freedom of Information Act, the AFL Foundation has also filed a request (pdf) for the following documents:
- All records of, concerning, or regarding (1) the Garland Memorandum and/or (2) the NSBA Letter.
- All records sufficient to show each person within the Department who reviewed (1) the Garland Memorandum and/or (2) the NSBA Letter.
- All records created by the Department showing the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” referenced in the Garland Memorandum.
- All records the Department relied upon to support the Garland Memorandum statement “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”
- All records created by the Department showing “the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel” referenced in the Garland Memorandum.
- All records the Department relied upon to support the Garland Memorandum statement there has been “a rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”
- All records sufficient to show the Department’s understanding and interpretation of the term “intimidation and harassment” used in the Garland Memorandum.
- All communications from, with, or regarding any person employed by the National Education Association and/or the American Federation of Teachers.
- All communications with any person having an email address including eop.gov regarding (1) the Garland Memorandum, (2) the NSBA, (3) the NSBA Letter, the National Education Association and/or the American Federation of Teachers and/or (5) any person employed by the National Education Association and/or the American Federation of Teachers.
Asked about the optics of FBI agents descending upon school board meetings to drag parents away from podiums, King was forthright in her prediction.
“It will be reminiscent of using dogs and water hoses on black Americans who were fighting for civil rights,” she said bluntly.