Education Secretary Miguel Cardona delivers remarks to honor the Council of Chief State School Officers’ 2020 and 2021 State and National Teachers of the Year at the White House in Washington, D.C. October 18, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
In September, the National School Boards Association sent the White House a letter likening school-board protesters to “domestic terrorists” and requested that the administration use any laws at its disposal, including the anti-terrorism PATRIOT Act, to investigate.
At the time, parents across the nation were confronting school boards over their support for Covid masking, shutdowns, and curricula that included critical race theory or associated anti-American and racialist materials. These issues were at the center of numerous political campaigns, most notably Virginia’s governor’s race.
Attorney General Merrick Garland swiftly acquiesced to this odd and unprecedented request. He issued a memorandum to the FBI and U.S. attorneys’ offices directing both to investigate parents protesting school boards and promised to look at a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” even though the vast majority of the incidents forwarded by the NSBA did not involve any threats of physical violence. Even