The Biden administration appears more concerned about parents speaking out at school board meetings than the antifa members who rampaged through Portland last summer.
On Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo on a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against school boards and education personnel. First Amendment protections, he contended, don’t extend to “efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.”
He then directed the FBI to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies on “strategies for addressing threats” against school personnel.
There has been a “disturbing” crime spike over the past year — in homicides. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that homicides increased by 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. That’s the largest percentage increase in modern history. Many of those killings occurred in cities run by Democrats. Not many happened at schools.
It’s not hard to figure out the Department of Justice’s sudden interest in local school board meetings. Parents have filled these usually sleepy events to protest Critical Race Theory and mask mandates. Impassioned speeches have turned into viral videos, encouraging more parents to investigate what’s going on at their schools. Many don’t like what they’ve found, which has led to more protests.
Parents demanding a say in the education of their kids hasn’t sat well with the education establishment and many liberal politicians.
“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said during a recent debate.
Little wonder parents are ticked.
These protests are rocking the boat and could cause a potential political tsunami that swamps Democrats in 2022. So the Biden administration is trying to chill protesters by siccing the FBI on parents who dare to speak up.
This move didn’t come out of nowhere. Just days before this memo, the National School Board Association demanded federal help to stop acts of violence against school officials. But most of the examples it listed as concerning were parents expressing their outrage in loud and sometimes unruly ways.
“The classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism or hate crime,” the letter states. It then asks that federal law enforcement examine using the “Patriot Act in regards to domestic terrorism” against those parents.
Criticizing the school board isn’t domestic terrorism, even if protesters raise their voices.
It would, however, be domestic terrorism to throw a bomb at a federal courthouse. Or months of antifa riots at which criminals routinely assault law enforcement officers defending federal property. That’s what happened in Portland last year. But in his confirmation hearing, Garland refused to label those attacks as domestic terrorism because they happened “at night.”
You can’t make it up.
It shouldn’t be hard to condemn the president and his administration for this egregious misuse of federal law enforcement. In June 2020, Gov. Steve Sisolak blasted then-President Donald Trump for suggesting governors use the National Guard to stop violent riots. The violence in those riots was physical — it didn’t consist of someone raising his voice. But Sisolak and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto refused to respond to requests for comment.
Dean Heller and Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the two leading Republican candidates for governor, both said they oppose having the feds intervene in school board disputes. Heller called it “outrageous” and said the FBI shouldn’t “attempt to intimidate parents.” Lombardo said, “No parent should be investigated or considered a threat for taking a stand.” Adam Laxalt, the likely Republican nominee for Senate, called it “a total inversion of our constitutional system.” Exactly.
There is an effort “to intimidate individuals based on their views.” It’s coming from the Biden administration, and it’s directed at outspoken parents. Perhaps the FBI should investigate.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 3 p.m. with Kevin Wall on AM 670 KMZQ Right Talk. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.