Internal documents and emails obtained by Fox News appear to confirm that the National School Boards Association (NSBA) worked directly with Biden administration officials in crafting a letter to the White House expressing concern about parents speaking out about their children’s education at school board meetings across the nation.
The letter, dated Sept. 29, was widely criticized for likening parents’ actions to acts of “domestic terrorism.” Now, it seems clear that the Biden White House could have had a hand in the controversial wording.
A letter to the White House
The NSBA letter called for the Biden administration and its Department of Justice (DOJ) to crack down on parents with the full force of the federal government, as local school board officials continued to face pushback over issues including mask mandates, the teaching of the so-called critical race theory in schools, and, in one Virginia county, even an alleged cover-up of sexual assault.
Soon after the letter was sent, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo that, for all intents and purposes, vowed to do exactly what the NSBA requested: investigate and prosecute parents expressing their concerns at school board meetings.
But it may have all been for show. According to Fox, an internal, 10-page memo authored by NSBA President Viola Garcia, dated Oct. 11, provided an update on “action items” to state association officers and executive directors (OSAED) of the organization. In it, Garcia said the group had been “actively engaged” with federal agencies including the White House.
“Actively engaged” with Biden admin
“Concern over the current climate for school board members is also a top priority as disruptions at school board meetings grow and members face growing threats,” Garcia wrote on page 7, according to Fox. “NSBA has been actively engaged with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Surgeon General, and other federal agencies on pandemic related issues.”
She went on:
In the September 14, 2021 meeting of the OSAED liaison group, they were informed there had been a meeting with White House staff that morning and that NSBA was preparing to send a letter to the President. Subsequently, on September 17, 2021, the interim Executive Director emailed notice to the state association executive directors that indicated a letter requesting federal assistance would be sent.
The memo was first obtained by the group Parents Defending Education through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and later provided to Fox News.
After sharing some of the wording of that “emailed notice,” Garcia reportedly added:
In response to the letter sent by NSBA, on October 4, 2021 the Attorney General announced in a memorandum widely shared throughout the U.S. Department of Justice that he was ordering all U.S. Attorney Offices and local FBI offices to reach out to local and state law enforcement officials to coordinate efforts on this problem within 30 days of the memorandum.
“Talks over the last several weeks”
Parents Defending Education also obtained a series of emails between state association officials that suggested they were alarmed about the contents of Garcia’s memo.
The officials also reportedly raised concerns about members dropping out of the organization because of the fierce blowback the letter received. Indeed, Fox noted that at least 11 state-level associations have already cut ties with the NSBA, and the controversy has emboldened parents’ rights organizations as well as even contributed to a recent win for Republicans in Virginia, some say.
Another email thread obtained exclusively by Fox News involving both Garcia and another top NSBA executive named Chip Slaven suggested the NSBA and Biden officials had been discussing for “several weeks” the letter and its contents, which the association had altered at the request of White House aides. “In talks over the last several weeks with White House staff, they requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring,” Slaven wrote, according to Fox.