AG Garland directs FBI to investigate parents’ alleged harassment, intimidation of school boards across US

Attorney General Merrick Garland told federal officials Monday to meet with law enforcement to brainstorm in regards to how to respond to the growing number of threats against school board members, teachers, and other education staff.

Mr. Garland issued a memorandum describing a need to address the “disturbing spike” in threats of violence, harassment and intimidation against school officials in recent months. “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,” the attorney general said.

Garland’s statement follows a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) that asked the federal government to get involved in the “immediate threat” of violence from parents faced by American public schools and its education officials. The NSBA said the incidents could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

“It is shameful that activists are weaponizing the US Department of Justice against parents,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education told the Daily Caller News Foundation in response to the memorandum. “This is a coordinated attempt to intimidate dissenting voices in the debates surrounding America’s underperforming K-12 education and it will not succeed. We will not be silenced.”

The Department of Justice said it takes instances of threats, or violence against school officials “seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources” to discourage, identify and prosecute the “rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

The Department of Justice’s memorandum did not specify what it classifies as a crime and did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for clarification on the matter.

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