Pennsylvania School Boards Association Votes to Withdraw From NSBA Over ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Letter
It has fomented more disputes and cast partisanship on our work on behalf of school directors, when we seek to find common ground and support all school directors in their work, no matter their politics.”
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) disavowed and voted to withdraw from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) after the latter asked Biden’s administration to label concerned parents as “domestic terrorists.”
AG Garland responded to the NSBA with a memo to the FBI and DOJ departments to investigate and crackdown on these rowdy parents who care too much about their children’s education and safety!
Because the FBI and DOJ have nothing better to do, right?
full statement: pic.twitter.com/XCWGIpmD2h
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) October 15, 2021
The PSBA said the value of belonging in NSBA “has been questioned numerous times over the past several years both within Pennsylvania and amongst another state school boards associations.”
Officials described the NSBA as “a federation that is not focused on bipartisanship, civility and seeking solutions to the internal problems that have plagued the national organization for so long.”
“From financial and pension issues to a never-ending disagreement on a governance model and definition of membership, the problems at NSBA have only become more and more entrenched despite recurring promises for action,” wrote PSBA.
The group stated that the NSBA pushing Biden to call parents “domestic terrorists” was the “final straw”:
This misguided approach has made our work and that of many school boards more difficult. It has fomented more disputes and cast partisanship on our work on behalf of school directors, when we seek to find common ground and support all school directors in their work, no matter their politics. Now is not the time for more politics and posturing, it is the time for solutions to the many challenges facing education.
PSBA condemned any threats or harassment school board members and officials have faced. Garland mentioned those in his memo to the FBI, but I don’t have any examples. Garland never provided any proof.
“However, attempting to solve the problems with a call for federal intervention is not the place to begin, nor a model for promoting greater civility and respect for the democratic process,” PSBA emphasized.
PSBA chief communications officer Annette Stevenson said the NSBA did not consult with the association before it sent the letter to Biden:
“PSBA has always encouraged local school boards to welcome input and remarks from community members and all stakeholders, and Pennsylvania has a long history of relying on local school district control to ensure that the will of the community and parents is best represented,” Stevenson said. “PSBA is strongly averse to the lack of civility and violence being witnessed in some districts, and we support that local districts need to be able to work with their local and regional law enforcement to address such safety concerns.”
Radnor Township School Board President Susan Stern let parents know that her board “supports First Amendment rights” and they “welcome hearing public comments from all citizens.”
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub finds it inappropriate for the DOJ “to prosecute individuals” within his county’s school district:
“Absolutely not. There’s no need for it. There’s no place for, it will have a chilling effect on our First Amendment right to free speech. I don’t want you to conflate what I’m saying though…if somebody is going to overtly threaten another person, whether it’s on the internet or live at a school board in anger, they will be held accountable. But if they’re merely expressing their anger or their displeasure at their quality of education or the manner in which that education is provided, they have a right to be heard. And I will steadfastly uphold that right under the First Amendment.”
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