by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Arriving in my email inbox today from Sen. Thom Tillis’ office.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and the republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee expanded their ongoing probe into the federal government’s policing of school board meetings to include the Department of Education. The broadening inquiry follows revelations of emails between National School Board Association (NSBA) officials that suggest a controversial association letter to President Biden was initiated by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
“Recent news that Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona was instrumental in the letter from NSBA comparing concerned parents to terrorist is deeply concerning,”said Senator Tillis. “It is appalling that anyone would request for the PATRIOT Act to be used against parents voicing their concerns at school board meetings, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the origins of this letter and protect the rights of parents.”
The NSBA’s September 29, 2021, letter to Biden called on the government to consider using the PATRIOT Act and other anti-terrorism authorities against concerned parents at school board meetings. Days later, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo mobilizing federal law enforcement to track parents who express opposition at school board meetings. Though the NSBA has since disavowed the letter, the Department’s guidance remains unchanged.
Recently released emails suggest the NSBA’s letter was prompted by a request from Secretary Cardona. In separate letters to the respective agencies, the committee lawmakers are seeking details on any coordination between and within the Education Department and Justice Department regarding the NSBA letter and other efforts to crack down on dissent among parents at school board meetings.