Emails Reveal Education Secretary Sought NSBA's 'Domestic Terrorism' Letter

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Posted: Jan 11, 2022 6:45 PM
Emails Reveal Education Secretary Sought NSBA's 'Domestic Terrorism' Letter

Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The National School Boards Association's Sept. 29 letter to the White House comparing parents expressing frustration at school board meetings to domestic terrorists was drafted following a request from Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

NSBA Secretary-Treasurer Kristi Swett told NSBA member Marnie Maldonado in an email from early October that Chip Slaven, then-NSBA interim executive director, "told the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cordona," emails obtained by nonprofit group Parents Defending Education revealed.

The emails are the first indication of Cardona's involvement in the NSBA's letter, which requested federal assistance to curb the "growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation" at school board meetings and even asked that the federal government utilize the Patriot Act to stop threats and violence.

"As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes," the letter read. The NSBA later apologized to its members for the language used in the letter.

Parents across the country had shown up to school board meetings to voice their frustration over their children's schools pushing transgender policies, mask mandates and critical race theory.

Just days after the NSBA sent the September letter to the White House, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum that directed the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement agencies to "address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff."

"It appears Biden’s Education Secretary may have helped initiate the NSBA’s now-retracted letter to the DOJ requesting they spy on parents under the Patriot Act," GOP Rep. Jim Banks (IN) said Tuesday in a tweet. "If true, he needs to resign."

Despite the email showing that Cardona solicited the NSBA letter, a spokesperson for the Department of Education denied the secretary's involvement.

The spokesperson told Fox News that Cardona "did not solicit a letter" from the NSBA, but, "to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the [Department of Education] routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associations."  

Emails obtained in November by PDE showed that the NSBA was in communications with the White House and the Department of Justice for several weeks prior to the Sept. 29 letter.