DeSantis Pledges to Stand Up Against DOJ Efforts to 'Silence' Parents at School Board Meetings

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Posted: Oct 05, 2021 6:30 PM
DeSantis Pledges to Stand Up Against DOJ Efforts to 'Silence' Parents at School Board Meetings

Source: AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Tuesday that Florida would fight efforts from the Department of Justice to "silence" parents at school board meetings that the department says pose a threat to school faculty and staff.

"Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation," DeSantis tweeted. "Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent."

DeSantis's office later released a statement pointing out that harassment is already a crime in Florida, and that state law enforcement is "perfectly capable of responding to crimes in Florida, and we have never heard the FBI suggest otherwise."

"However, disagreement is not harassment," the statement continued. "Protest is not terrorism, unless it involves rioting, looting, and assault, like some of the left-wing protests of summer 2020. Again, all of those actions are crimes in Florida and will be prosecuted, regardless of political context."

Garland directed the FBI to address "threats" against school board members and other school employees on Monday after a letter to the White House from the National School Boards Association alleged that parents voicing frustration over school policies and curriculum at board meetings "could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes."

Over the course of the last year, parents have shown up to their children's school board meetings to push back against mask mandates and critical race theory in schools.

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