On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to fight an order issued by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that directs the FBI to investigate alleged instances of violence against school board officials that have taken place throughout the nation.
DeSantis emphatically stated he will defend the rights of Floridians against government intrusion.
In a tweet the Governor said, “Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation. Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.”
Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation.
Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 5, 2021
Florida Fights Overreaching Feds
AG Garland gave the FBI and U.S. Attorney offices a directive to hold meetings with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials within 30 days to talk about ways to fight what the DOJ claims is an, “increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools.”
Garland said of the directive, “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”
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In July, DeSantis signed the Florida Parents Bill of Rights. The measure states that the government, “may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of a minor child.”
Christina Pushaw, spokeswoman for Gov. DeSantis stated that the Governor is following the situation closely, “to protect the rights of Floridians from government overreach and the inappropriate politicization of federal law enforcement.”
Not gonna take it: 427,000 parents fight back against National School Board Assoc calling them “domestic terrorists” https://t.co/Z6OORRLXXS
— Norman Firebaugh (@FirebaughNorman) October 6, 2021
Parents Fight Back
The Department of Justice directive appears to be a response to parents across the nation who are attending their local school board meetings in large numbers to protest what they see as indoctrination of their children.
School boards everywhere are demanding that children as young as five wear masks all day at school because of COVID-19. Since transgender issues and critical race theory are being introduced into the curriculum, parents are demanding a say in what their children are being taught as well as about their children’s healthcare while they are at school.
Gov. DeSantis has consistently sided with parents when school boards institute COVID policies.
The reason the DOJ/FBI are starting to target “angry parents at school board meetings” as domestic terrorists is because school boards and town councils are folding under the pressure of the public. Battles are being won and momentum is gathering. The Feds fear this – keep going.
— Ian Smith (@iansmithfitness) October 6, 2021
The Source Of The Complaint
The source of the concern about parents speaking up at school board meetings comes from a letter sent directly to President Joe Biden.
In the letter, the National Association of School Boards asks the Biden administration to investigate whether verbal confrontations between school board members and parents are a form of domestic terrorism and a violation of the Patriot Act.
While there have been some physical altercations, they are rare and not as widespread as the NASB claims. The letter reads in part:
“Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.”
Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education said it is very simply, “This is a coordinated attempt to intimidate dissenting voices in the debates surrounding America’s underperforming K-12 education – and it will not succeed. We will not be silenced.”
School Board Association members are speaking out in other states, but not in support of those who penned the letter to President Biden.
Georgia School Boards Association Spokesman Justin Pauly says that, “some awareness from a federal perspective” can be “useful,” however:
“We are not aware of specific instances where it’s gone too far. We’ve just heard there’s lots of people showing up at school board meetings to talk and vent their frustrations. I think you need to be careful when you begin to put labels on people, because parents are a very important part of the public education process.”
DeSantis spokeswoman Pushaw continued with the statement from DeSantis that said school board members from all political spectrums had been harassed, and that, “This is wrong, and anyone who is a victim of a crime should report it to their local police department.
The statement also said:
“However, disagreement is not harassment. 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. Governor DeSantis condemns any attempt by the federal government to silence free speech. It is despicable and anti-American.”
🚨Joe Biden is weaponizing his DOJ and using the FBI to pursue parents advocating for their kids at school board meetings. It’s meant to quell dissent and intimidate. It’s dangerous and they have no jurisdiction.
Not in Missouri. Not in any state.
My letter to the AG 👇 pic.twitter.com/hfXmJnjDEK
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) October 5, 2021
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