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Attorney General Merrick Garland is due to testify at his first inspection hearing with the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday – offering both sides of the aisle to press him on key issues.

Texas’s abortion ban, voting rights, the border crisis and the January 6 riots could all stand out as big topics that have attracted attention during his brief time leading the Department of Justice (DOJ). Republicans will likely join Garland’s recent memo, announcing that the FBI will investigate threats or intimidation by parents against school boards across America.

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Seventeen states tell Biden, Garland to silence parents at school board meetings

Here’s what to expect in terms of education questions:

Are the parents domestic terrorists?

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Garland’s memorandum juxtaposes two already explosive political issues – domestic terrorism and critical race theory (CRT) – leading to questions about parental rights. Republicans have expressed a desire to determine how the DOJ views perceived threats from parents. What they see as a grassroots rebellion has been vilified by the National School Board Association (NSBA) for intimidation and harassment.

garlands memorandum He did not use the term “domestic terrorist” and clarified that “spirited debate” was not the target of his investigation. But many have raised concerns about the timing of Garland’s memo, which was released just days after the NSBA sent a letter to the Biden administration saying the parents may have been involved in domestic terrorism. .

The letter asked the administration to consider its powers under the Patriot Act, a comprehensive surveillance law passed after the 9/11 attacks.

Garland family involvement in education

Soon after Garland’s memo, news broke that her son-in-law, Zayn Tanner, had co-founded an education consultancy that not only pushed forward ideas related to CRT, but also provided services to school districts across the country. Garland’s relationship with the company has raised questions about how much her family would benefit from enforcing the law on protests from the school board.

Company owned by Garland’s son-in-law receives at least $27M from school system: report

The company, Panorama Education, has said that it has “supported 13 million students in districts of all shapes and sizes. 50+ of the nation’s largest 100 districts and state agencies use Panorama Education, including New York City.” Also includes the city’s Department of Education, the Clark County School District (Nevada), Dallas ISD (Texas), and the Hawaii Department of Education.”

Forbes.com reported that the company made tens of millions of dollars in business investments in addition to $27 million worth of payments from the school system between 2017 and 2020. Since 2017, it has seen a nearly four-fold increase in business. The number of school systems it worked with increased from 400 to 1,500, as noted in a recent press release.

Details about investigations and implications for free speech

Garland’s memo indicated concern for free speech, stating: “While enthusiastic debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, this protection is not against threats of violence or attempts to intimidate individuals based on their views.” Not till.”

US Civil Rights Commission members burst AG for memo on parents opposing school boards

Regardless, critics have raised concerns with the investigation, which injects federal law enforcement into an area usually reserved for state and local governments.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent Garland a letter earlier this month expressing concern that the investigation could stifle constitutionally protected speech. Calling the NSBA’s letter “pure gaslighting”, he also worried about the way the anti-CRT efforts were described.

Is Critical Race Theory Divisive? Does it violate the rights of students and parents?

Much of the debate at CRT centers on whether racial curriculum education violates American ideas about equality, justice, and free speech. Across the country, there have been lawsuits and protests alleging that the CRT, which seeks to combat racism, is itself a racist.

As the nation’s top law enforcement official, Garland may face questions about whether CRT-related lessons violate the Constitution and how much parents should have a say in how those lessons are taught in schools. Is.

Similarly, Garland may face questions about state laws that attempt to ban CRTs and whether they are constitutional. The CRT restrictions have faced criticism for allegedly violating the freedom of speech of teachers, among other things.