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First on Granthshala Sen. Josh Hawley tore down a memo to Attorney General Merrick Garland Tuesday night in which he directed the FBI and other Justice Departments to identify and address threats of violence and harassment from school officials and board members. Focus on prosecuting.

memorandum This came after months of nationwide school board meetings, which often featured controversial exchanges between officials and parents opposing controversial policies such as masked mandates, teaching critical race theory and more.

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In some cases, parents were thrown out of meetings for refusing to wear masks, leading to allegations that school boards were trying to quell dissent. In one specific example, an entire school board was forced to resign because hot mic comments featured board members mocking concerned parents.

“Across the country, Americans are speaking out against the radical racist ideology sometimes referred to as the ‘Critical Race Theory. Hawley wrote in a letter to Garland. “Americans have responded to this radical ideology by winning elections for local school boards and peacefully protesting at school board meetings. Yet your memo yesterday to the FBI and the local US attorney ignored all of this and called for a ‘threat of violence. ‘ and ‘attempts to intimidate individuals on the basis of their views.'”

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DOJ launches effort to deal with threats of violence against school officials

“I certainly share your view that threats of violence have no place in this country, but the background of your memo strongly suggests that your concern is not violence, but a democratic push against the important race principle, The Senator continued.

Hawley said Garland and the DOJ should abstain from “regular democratic activity” and that it “provides no evidence of real, real threats of violence.” Instead, Hawley alleged, the DOJ only aimed to portray opponents of critical race theory as “enemies of the republic.”

Hawley’s letter asked Garland’s office to provide him with any material the DOJ plans to circulate regarding the attorney general’s memorandum, and to prepare a list of who was consulted in the form of the memorandum. was done.

Garland’s memo came soon after a letter to Biden, president of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), said that some rhetorical skirmishes between school boards and parents were going too far and threatened threats against board members. amount is.

“The National School Boards Association (NSBA) respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to address the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the country,” it said in the letter last week.

“As these acts of malice, violence and threats against public school officials increase, the classification of these heinous acts may equate to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” it added.

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The letter detailed several examples of this alleged pattern, including disrupting school board meetings, a person being arrested at an Illinois school board meeting, and a letter from a person saying It has been reported that a school board member will “pay dearly” to support the mask mandate.

In a memo on Monday, Garland enthusiastically agreed with the NSBA.

“Although enthusiastic debate about policy matters is protected under the Constitution, this protection does not extend to threats of violence or attempts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” Garland said. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they are against the core values ​​of the country.”

Garland asked the FBI to lead a task force to address threats against school officials, including creating a centralized way to report such threats.

Hawley said the timing of the Garland memo was highly questionable because it immediately followed the NSBA letter. Hawley alleged that the NSBA letter is not really about violence and instead school boards have not been able to criticize.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a lawsuit Thursday, September 9, 2021, at the Justice Department in Washington to block enforcement of a new Texas law that bans most abortions.  Garland announced Monday that the FBI would look into the alleged threats and harassment.  against school board officials (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“Your announcement comes shortly after the Biden administration received a letter from the National School Boards Association, sparking a flurry of complaints by concerned parents against widespread criticisms of local school boards,” Hawley wrote.

“The letter criticized it as ‘propaganda’ that schools are pushing critical race theory into classrooms,” he said. “It further said, without explanation, that ‘extremist hate organizations are ‘appearing at school board meetings’ and ‘spreading misinformation that boards are adopting critical race theory curriculum’. The NSBA letter is pure gaslighting.”

Hawley also questioned Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco about the memo during Tuesday’s hearing. Hawley alleged that the memo was designed to silence the speech of parents at school board meetings because the memo did not define the terms of harassment and intimidation, and therefore the ways in which it was used by the government. The speech of some frustrated parents can be included on the basis of

Monaco counterattacked that the memo is only about violence and threats of violence, and that it is the role of the FBI to address those threats.