Attorney General Merrick Garland called on the FBI to “use its authority” against parents who threaten or use violence against public school officials in a Monday memorandum.
Garland said there has been a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” He said he is directing the FBI to work with each U.S. attorney and leaders “in each federal judicial district” to discuss strategy to address threats within 30 days of his statement.
Garland’s statement follows a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) that asked the federal government to get involved in the “immediate threat” of violence from parents faced by American public schools and its education officials. The NSBA said the incidents could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
“It is shameful that activists are weaponizing the US Department of Justice against parents,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education told the Daily Caller News Foundation in response to the memorandum. “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.”
The Department of Justice said it takes instances of threats, or violence against school officials “seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources” to discourage, identify and prosecute the “rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”
“In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct toward school personnel,” the memorandum said.
It “will also create specialized training and guidance for local school boards and school administrators,” the Justice Department press release said. “This training will help school board members and other potential victims understand the type of behavior that constitutes threats, how to report threatening conduct to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and how to capture and preserve evidence of threatening conduct to aid in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.”
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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