New FOIA Requests Reveal NSBA 'Actively Engaged' With WH Before 'Domestic Terrorism' Letter to Biden

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Posted: Nov 11, 2021 2:30 PM
New FOIA Requests Reveal NSBA 'Actively Engaged' With WH Before 'Domestic Terrorism' Letter to Biden

Source: Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP

The National School Boards Association “actively engaged” with the White House and other federal departments prior to sending its controversial letter to President Biden, new Freedom of Information Act requests by Parents Defending Education reveal

An Oct. 12 memo details the timeline leading up to the letter that requested federal assistance to deal with parental threats against school boards, which the group argued “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.”

NSBA president Viola Garcia said the organization “has been actively engaged with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Surgeon General, and other federal agencies” prior to the Sept. 29 letter.

That letter prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to mobilize the FBI to work with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target parents engaging in what it claimed is “threatening conduct.” 

Garcia also writes that on Sept. 14, the same day a meeting with the NSBA’s Organization of State Association Executive Directors took place, there was a meeting at the White House as well and informed them 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,” she adds. 

Other communications between state school board officials and the NSBA show frustration with how the letter originated and the language used within it. 

NSBA has since apologized for the letter, but dozens of states have distanced themselves from it and at least 12 have withdrawn their membership, dues, or participation.