Minnesota School Boards Terminate NBSA Membership After ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Letter

Minnesota School Boards Terminate NBSA Membership After ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Letter

By Isabel van Brugen
January 12, 2022 Updated: January 12, 2022

The Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) has terminated its membership with the National School Boards Association (NBSA), joining a growing number of states to do so over a highly controversial Biden administration letter, which likened concerned parents to domestic terrorists.

“The MSBA Board of Directors acted last week to terminate our membership with NSBA,” a letter from the nonprofit organization to school board chairs and superintendents dated Jan. 4 states.

It comes after the NBSA sent a letter (pdf) to President Joe Biden on Sept. 29, 2021, characterizing disruptions at school board meetings as “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime.” The organization also urged the federal government to invoke counterterrorism laws to quell “angry mobs” of parents seeking to hold school officials accountable for teaching Marxist critical race theory and for imposing COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates on their children.

Just five days later, on Oct. 5, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued amemo directing federal law enforcement to help address an alleged “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against teachers and school leaders. The memo remains in effect, despite the NSBA having since apologized for and rescinded the letter.

“Prior to the letter to the Biden administration, we had ongoing concerns regarding the value of membership with the NSBA,” MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind wrote. “With 18 other state school board associations already terminating their membership, we felt it was important to reevaluate the value and consider what will be in the best short- and long-term interests for MSBA and its members.”

Schneidawind said the decision “was not taken lightly,” noting that MSBA plans to form a new Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) alongside the other 18 state school board associations who have terminated their memberships with the NBSA.

“The executive directors and staff from the 18 state associations have already created a structure with enormous opportunity,” said Schneidawind. He added that COSSBA will allow the group “to design and build a multi-state association for today and the future.”

Meanwhile, newly surfaced emails suggest that the U.S. Department of Education might have played a more important role than previously thought in the creation of the letter.

According to email exchanges obtained by advocacy group Parents Defending Education (PDE), the NSBA letter appears to be a response to a request for information by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

It comes comes amid questions over the Biden administration’s involvement in the creation of the NSBA letter, which still serves as the basis of a series of actions taken by the Justice Department.

“We are confident that this new opportunity, through a multi-state association, will support and strengthen our efforts in building high performing school boards in each of our school districts,” MSBA’s statement concluded.

Bill Pan contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen

Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master’s in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.

School Boards Ask Biden Admin to Treat Parents’ Protests as ‘Domestic Terrorism’

Families protest any potential mask mandates before the Hillsborough County Schools Board meeting held at the district office on July 27, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
School Boards Ask Biden Admin to Treat Parents’ Protests as ‘Domestic Terrorism’
October 1, 2021 Updated: October 1, 2021

The national organization of public school boards is calling on the Biden administration to protect its members from “angry mobs” of parents who protest against COVID-19 restrictions placed on students and the teaching of critical race theory, characterizing the protests as “domestic terrorism.”

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), which represents more than 90,000 school board members in the United States, wrote in a Sept. 29 letter (pdf) to President Joe Biden that the federal government must “deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

The letter moves on to cite incidents of “threats or actual acts of violence” against school leaders, alleging that parents who sought to express their opposition to mask and COVID-19 vaccination policies have been “inciting chaos” during school board meetings. It also denies critical race theory is being taught in classrooms, and describes parents’ attempts to hold school board members accountable by posting watchlists online as “spreading misinformation.”

“As these threats and acts of violence have become more prevalent,” the letter claims, “NSBA respectfully asks that a joint collaboration among federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement, and with public school officials be undertaken to focus on these threats.”

Specifically, the NSBA asked that federal agencies such as FBI, the Secret Services, and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security “investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence” by whatever “extraordinary measures” necessary.

“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 crime,” the NSBA argued in the letter, encouraging the federal agencies to use laws designed to target domestic terrorism, such as the PATRIOT Act, to address the issue.

The group also asked Biden to direct the U.S. Postal Service to filter “threatening letters” and intervene in “cyberbullying attacks” that target students, teachers, and school leaders.

The call for support comes days after the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) made a similar request, arguing that the federal government needs give school leaders the authority to expel “threatening individuals” from their schools.

“At the very least, we need the U.S. Department of Education to issue specific guidance on the authority school leaders have to protect themselves and our ability to remove or ban hostile parents and individuals from school grounds who threaten our safety,” said NASSP CEO Ronn Nozoe in a Sept. 16 statement.

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