Equating parents with terrorists leads Illinois Association of School Boards to quit U.S. group

Equating parents with terrorists leads Illinois Association of School Boards to quit U.S. group

The Illinois Association of School Boards is among 15 state boards to terminate their National School Boards Association membership after the national group sent a letter to President Biden asking that upset parent be monitored as domestic terrorists.

The Illinois Association of School Boards voted Nov. 18 to terminate its membership with the National School Boards Association after the national group sent a letter calling on the Biden administration to investigate parents protesting at local school board meetings as domestic terrorists.

The letter sent Sept. 29 asked President Joe Biden whether confrontations of school board members by parents outraged over COVID-19 mask mandates and school curriculum constituted domestic terrorism under the Patriot Act.

“The decision follows previous attempts by IASB to initiate changes to the governance structure, transparency, and financial oversight of the national association,” a news release from IASB stated. “IASB suspended payment of dues to NSBA for 2021-2022 but continued to work to try to bring about needed changes.”

Since sending the controversial letter nearly two months ago, 26 state school board associations have chosen to distance themselves from the national education organization. As of Nov. 20, 15 of those states have discontinued membership or stopped paying dues to the NSBA.

“The Board recognizes the need for a healthy national organization that can provide training, federal advocacy, shared resources, and networking opportunities,” IASB said. “IASB communicated to NSBA that ‘IASB no longer believes that NSBA can fill this important role.’ In September NSBA sent a letter to President Biden calling for federal assistance, without knowledge or support of its state association members.”

Following the NSBA’s letter, the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed the FBI to monitor parents allegedly making threats at local school board meetings nationwide.

An internal FBI document recently leaked to the House Judiciary Committee revealed federal law enforcement agencies had in fact begun “threat tagging” these parent protestors, prompting First Amendment concerns.

“It should’ve been AG Garland, not an FBI whistleblower, to reveal that the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division was ‘threat tagging’ America’s parents,” U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., said of the revelation. “I sent a letter to him calling to see all correspondence on the matter.”

Additional emails shared by the whistleblower expose the nature of these tags.

“We ask that your offices apply the threat tag to investigations and assessments of threats specifically directed against school board administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” the email to the Criminal Investigative and Counter Terrorism divisions said.

“The purpose of the threat tag is to help scope this threat on a national level and provide an opportunity for comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective engagement with law enforcement partners at all levels,” the email continued.

The FBI responded to the claims, insisting the agency was not infringing on First Amendment rights and that it was not investigating parents who spoke out at school board meetings.

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