told Congress Thursday why he recently ordered the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to look into threats or violence against local school boards and school officials. Readers can decide if they believe him.
The Attorney General stated categorically that he “can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children.” He further declared: “I do not believe that parents who testify, speak, argue with, complain about school boards and schools should be classified as domestic terrorists or any kind of criminals.”
That’s good to hear. But the reason that clarification was necessary is because the Oct. 4 memo he issued calling for federal involvement followed a letter to President
from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) describing school-board protests as possible terrorism. Among the evidence the NSBA submitted for its claim of a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation” was the arrest of an angry father at a June 22 meeting of the Loudoun County School Board in Virginia.
We’ve since learned that the man in question,
is the father of a ninth-grader who reported she was sexually assaulted in a Loudoun County public-school bathroom. He says he became enraged after hearing another member of the audience deny his daughter had been assaulted.
On Thursday Mr. Garland provided no evidence to suggest an escalation in violence against school boards—and no explanation for why such acts, even if criminal, are federal offenses. Mr. Garland says he respects the First Amendment right of parents to speak up. But his memo, with the reminder that the FBI will be watching, is bound to have a chilling effect. The AG would do better to withdraw his letter so his agents can pursue real offenders.
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Appeared in the October 22, 2021, print edition.