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Emails Reveal State School Board Members Believed NSBA's 'Domestic Terrorism' Letter was Politically Motivated

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

New emails show that, after the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the White House asking for federal assistance to combat "threats" from parents at school board meetings that it likened to "a form of domestic terrorism," state school board members expressed their belief that the request was politically motivated.

Nonprofit Parents Defending Education obtained emails through public records requests that show state school board association members in a number of states, including Georgia, Florida and Alabama, speculated about possible political motivations behind the Sept. 29 letter to the White House.

The executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards, Sally Smith, said that the letter was "incompetent" and that it "did far more harm than good."

"Even without the foreseeable negative publicity the letter generated, it was a bad idea; contrary to NSBA positions supporting local control; full of unsubstantiated hyperbole in referencing hate crimes and domestic terrorism; politically reckless in linking CRT and masking; and ineptly executed with no apparent strategic plan for rollout and media follow up," Smith said in an Oct. 4 email

In a separate email from Oct. 5, she said the letter was "contrived for political theater" and accused the NSBA of shilling for the Biden administration.

Pam Doyle, an Alabama-based NSBA member, said in an email dated Oct. 10 that she believes NSBA CEO Chip Slaven sent the letter to Biden in September in the hopes that he would land a job in the administration.

"I had one exec to say they thought it was a coup between Chip and the white house [sic] in positioning Chip for a place in the Biden square," Doyle said. "Not surprised at anything coming from that man or the officers."

The NSBA's letter also met the ire of board members from Georgia and Florida, according to emails from Oct. 1.

After being notified of the NSBA's letter to the White House, a Georgia-based member said that "one of the last things I need is the Federal Government telling me how to run my school" while a Florida-based board member responded by saying that "Moms for Liberty will have a field day" with the letter.

And on Oct. 2, after an internal email explained why the letter to Biden was necessary, the head of the Florida School Boards Association responded by saying that "if they were truly concerned with safety, it would not have been accompanied by a press release and media interviews. They made it about NSBA, not safety."

At least 25 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the NSBA's letter while 10 states have withdrawn membership, participation or dues from the national organization.

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