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Justice directs FBI to address complaints about school board 'harassment' over masks, curriculum

The instruction from DOJ follows a letter from the National School Board Association asking to classify protests as "domestic terrorism"

Updated: October 5, 2021 - 8:39am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the FBI and U.S. Attorney Offices across the country to work with local officials over the next 30 days to address the "increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation's public schools."

The Justice Department memorandum follows a recent request to President Biden from the National School Board Association to help with what it calls the "immediate threat" of "extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings."

Parents have since roughly the beginning of the pandemic taken an increasingly active role in policy debates with school officials about what happens inside classroom – clashing particularly over COVID-19 mask mandates and curriculum that includes so-called Critical Race Theory, which essentially argues America is historically racist. 

"Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values," Garland said Monday in issuing the directive. "Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety," said the Attorney General.

The DOJ memorandum follows a recent letter to President Biden from the National School Board Association requesting help with what they call the "immediate threat" that is the growing threat of "extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings."

Garland also says he'll announce measures in the coming days to address the rise in crimes against school staff – including ones on creating a task force to handle threats and specialized training and guidance programs for school officials. 

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