- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2021

Internal emails indicate that officials from the National School Boards Association coordinated with the White House and the Justice Department before Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a letter warning of “domestic terrorism” threats from parental activists complaining about curriculum and other education issues.

A timeline provided by NSBA President Viola Garcia revealed that the association interacted with the administration just days before Mr. Garland‘s warning memo, which was sharply condemned by some parent groups and even by state school board associations affiliated with the Alexandria, Va.-based NSBA.

The emails were obtained by Fox News.

“Concern over the current climate for school board members is also a top priority as disruptions at school board meetings grow and members face growing threats,” Ms. Garcia reportedly wrote to the White House five days before the Justice Department letter issued in early October.

Ms. Garcia added that the NSBA was “actively engaged” with other federal agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security and Education, as well as with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, on pandemic-related issues.

The NSBA later apologized for the language it had used in its letter, which critics said equated parents complaining vociferously about curriculum issues at local school board meetings with domestic terrorism.

During his testimony on Capitol Hill on Oct. 27, Mr. Garland defended the department’s warning, despite the apology from the trade association, saying the Justice Department was not relying solely on the NSBA‘s letter or its language when it issued the Oct. 4 warning.

“The letter that was subsequently sent does not change the association’s concern of violence or threats of violence,” Mr. Garland said. “It alters some of the language in the letter … that we did not rely on and is not contained in my own memorandum.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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