Glocester (RI) School Committee To Withhold Dues From State Association In Protest Of Cooperation With DOJ Against Parents
Resolution: Since the Rhode Island Association of School Committees “released correspondence indicating RIASC would cooperate with federal law enforcement to potentially adversely engage with our constituents …. [W]e will withhold our membership dues until further notice”
Pushback is growing against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s infamous October 4, 2021, memo organizing a federal, state, and local law enforcement response to parent protests at school board meetings.
The Garland memo, wrapped in supposed concerns about violence, in fact was a political gesture in response to a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) which smeared the parent protest movement as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” The NSBA letter allegedly was a pre-arranged set up for the DOJ memo.
At least 17 state associations which are members of NSBA either have dropped membership, withheld dues, or otherwise protested NSBA’s letter to Garland.
But in Rhode Island, the state association moved quickly into action supporting the NSBA/DOJ/FBI targeting of the parent protest movement, as we covered in Garland Memo Fallout: RI Assoc. of School Committees To “Coordinate” With FBI And Gather Information On Public Meeting “Issues”.:
The Garland memo already has prompted action in Rhode Island to gather information on “issues” raised at school committee public meetings, confirming the concerns that lawful protest would be reported to the FBI and other law enforcement as part of this national monitoring effort.
The Rhode Island Association of School Committees (RIASC) acted on the Garland October 4 memo early in the morning of October 5. On October 5, 2021, at 8:18 a.m., RIASC forwarded to local Rhode Island school committee officials an article from Politico about the Garland Memo, “Garland taps FBI in response to ‘disturbing spike’ in threats against educators.”
We have a copy of the email, sent to over a dozen local school committee officials, which states that RIASC would be contacting the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island and the FBI to “coordinate with them” and asking that the officials report to him “any issues you have had during your Committee meetings” on certain topics.
Here is the full text of the October 5, 2021, 8:18 a.m. email:
Last week the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Biden, decrying the threatening behavior of some public members attending school board meetings. NSBA requested that the President direct the Justice Department and the FBI to reach out to local leaders about ways to address the threatening behavior.
RIASC will contact our US Attorney as well as the FBI and coordinate with them on what steps if any, we need to take.
In the interim, please apprise me of any issues you have had during your Committee meetings on topics such as mask mandates, issues with equity education, rights for LGBTQ, and BIOPC students.
Rhode Island Association of School Committees
Now there is backlash against RIASC. The Town of Glocester School Committee covers K-6 schools (higher grades are part of the regional Foster-Glouster district).
Last night, according to Laurie Gaddis Barrett, who drafted the resolution and was present during the committee meeting, the School Committee voted 6-0 to condemn the RIASC support for the NSBA letter demonizing parents:
Share my joy. In Rhode Island, the Glocester School Committee passed this resolution tonight 6-0. RIASC defunding in punishment for supporting NSBA action to label concerned parents as "domestic terrorists" & proactively engaging federal law enforcement action against us is ON. pic.twitter.com/smnOKmznF8
— Laurie (@laurieinri) October 20, 2021
Legal Insurrection has obtained a signed copy of the Resolution, which provides:
WHEREAS, it is the Glocester School Committee’s responsibility to determine and control all policies affecting
the administration, maintenance and operation of the Glocester public schools, and shall have all the powers
and be subject to al! the duties as prescribed by the laws of the State, and
WHEREAS, the Glocester School Committee is a paid participating member of the RIASC, and
WHEREAS, on June 3, 2021 we received correspondence from the RIASC regarding certain APRA requests
made f n other school districts that later proved to be factually inaccurate, and
WHEREAS, on August 15, 2021 the RIASC did send correspondence to Gov. Dan McKee without our
know!edge or consent, and without seeking our input, requesting that the Governor issue a public school
universal mask mandate, and
WHEREAS, on August 20, 2021, during a professional development meeting, in an apparent defiance of
RIASC bylaws and IRS guidelines relating to 501 (c)3 regulations, RIASC allegedly pledged support for a
particular candidate in a recall election, and
WHEREAS, on October 5, 2021 in response to the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) letter to the
Biden administration requesting federal assistance regarding threats and disruptive events occurring at School
Board meetings across the nation, RIASC immediately released correspondence indicating RIASC would
cooperate with federal law enforcement to potentially adversely engage with our constituents, and
WHEREAS, the Glocester School Committee was not consulted about the content of the October 5, 2021
correspondence and does not agree with this RIASC action, and
WHEREAS, we would be doing a disservice to our constituents if we did not evaluate the cost, benefit, and
reputational risk of our continued dues-paying membership in R!ASC,
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Glocester School Committee expresses concerns surrounding
RIASC’s governance, leadership, transparency, and failure to embrace non-partisanship. We are aware of
numerous complaints about these issues that have gone unanswered. Due to the fact that we have not seen
the changes in operational method that we would have expected, nor have we received any promised plan or
timeline to accomplish these changes, we will withhold our membership dues until further notice.
Barrett sent me the following statement:
The takeaway is, any parent can write a resolution and ask for a member of their School Committee to sponsor it as an agenda item for consideration. I’m not really all that special, just a concerned parent who happens to be highly motivated against funding an organization like RIASC that seeks to engage Federal law enforcement agencies against me.
My commitment to getting the Resolution completed for consideration was solidified when, during a round table discussion on October 15, 2021 on WBLQ local radio, I asked Mr. Duffy directly: “A critic might say that your email to School Committee chairs indicating you would engage with the US Atty and FBI to coordinate with them on what steps needed to be taken was an example,Example of overreach, how would you respond to that?” And Mr. Duffy’s answer was that he had “First Amendment rights” to do so. I thought to myself, well, I’ve got First Amendment rights too and I’m going to exercise them.
We will follow how the pushback grows in Rhode Island.
[Featured Image: September 28, 2021, Glocester (RI) School Committee meetings, image courtesy Laurie Baddis Barrett video]DONATE
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