National School Boards Association Calls Protesters Against Critical Race Theory Domestic Terrorists, Requests Federal Intervention
Trying to criminalize political opposition, a sign that school board protests by parents are making in impact.
In a letter to the Biden administration September 30, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) decried the nationwide protests against critical race theory, referring to them as “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” The NSBA asked the Biden administration for law enforcement assistance to address the “immediate threat” of parents showing up more often at school board meetings to address the issue, as well as concerns over mask mandates and a return to in-person learning.
On behalf of 90,000 school board members in the United States who govern 14,000 public school districts across the nation, the NSBA said it is requesting the U.S. Justice and Homeland Security departments, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Secret Service, to track and investigate risks to students, educators, board members and campuses.
“This is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue,” the organization said.
The letter, co-authored by The School Superintendents Association, reads in part:
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. As such, NSBA requests a joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI, including any technical assistance necessary from, and state and local coordination with, its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight. Additionally, NSBA requests that such review examine appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence under the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute, an Executive Order to enforce all applicable federal laws for the protection of students and public school district personnel, and any related measure. As the threats grow and news of extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings is being reported, this is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue.
The Reuters report quoted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki when she fielded a question about the letter:
The White House said on Thursday the administration is looking into what more it can do to keep public servants safe. “Obviously, these threats to school board members is horrible; they’re doing their jobs,” spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters. “We’re continuing to explore what more can be done across the administration but, again, a lot of this will be local law enforcement.”
The letter contains several footnotes with reference material cited to make the case. One of the citations refers back to a document published by an organization called the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). ACLED, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, refers to itself as “a disaggregated data collection, analysis, and crisis mapping project. ACLED collects the dates, actors, locations, fatalities, and types of all reported political violence and protest events” around the globe and in the US.
ACLED’s so-called “fact sheet” attempts to make the case that opposition to CRT only became widespread after President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning it from trainings for federal employees in 2020.
The obvious implication is that opposition to CRT is in itself a racist ideology. In making its case, ACLED cites a report from Media Matters for America, David Brock’s far left media watchdog site:
The frequency of demonstration events focused on CRT has been strongly correlated with media coverage
and debates over CRT-related legislation. For example, three states passed bills designed to ban CRT from public schools in June 2021 — the same month in which a majority of CRT-related demonstrations took place. A combined look at analysis of ACLED data (bars in graph below) and Media Matters analysis of CRT mentions by Fox News (line in graph below) shows a powerful correlation between increased
demonstration activity and increased negative media coverage (Media Matters, 15 June 2021).
To hear NSBA, AASA, ACLED, and Media Matters tell it, the opposition to CRT in schools is nothing more than a Fox News creation designed to rile up uneducated (and, by implication, racist) conservatives. As Media Matters says,
Critical race theory, to those who can actually define it, is an academic and legal framework that examines the impact of systemic racism on American society. For conservatives however, it’s the latest boogeyman they can use to scare people into thinking America’s children are being “indoctrinated” by “woke” leftist teachers. And while that is not even remotely the case, this idea is exploding on Fox News and in Republican-run state legislatures, leading to legislative bans in many states and skyrocketing mentions of critical race theory on the network.
The school board and superintendent organizations calling for federal law enforcement appear to be preemptively playing victim here instead of responding to a legitimate threat. Of course, this follows with the Biden administration’s focus on white supremacists as the single greatest terrorist threat the United States faces today. An overblown fear of domestic terrorists makes for a great diversion from the parents across the nation with legitimate questions about what their kids learn at these schools. The NSBA seems to have forgotten that, as elected officials, school board members are not supposed to be the bosses–the parents are.
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