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AG Merrick Garland Orders FBI to Fight ‘Threats’ Against School Officials

Days after a national organization representing school board officials lamented to the Biden administration about “hate groups” intimidating education officials, Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the FBI to combat “threats of violence” against administrators.

Without citing specific cases, in a memorandum issued on Monday, Merrick Garland expressed concern about a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” wrote Garland.

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. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” he added. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”

Noting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) takes such incidences of alleged harassment “seriously,” Garland announced his 30-day plan to combat the reported problem, which will include the FBI working with U.S attorneys across the country to discuss “strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.” He said:

Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation’s nearly 14,000 public school districts. To this end, I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.

The Department is steadfast in its commitment to protect all people in the United States from violence, threats of violence, and other forms of intimidation arid harassment.

AG Merrick Garland Orders FBI to Fight 'Threats' Against School Officials

People hold up signs during a rally against “critical race theory” (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia, on June 12, 2021. – “Are you ready to take back our schools?” Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

In a press release, the DOJ further explained that it will assist in creating “specialized training and guidance for local school boards and school administrators” that will help officials “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 DOJ also directed school officials to report threats to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) via its national tip line and online through the FBI website.

The memorandum arrived less than a week after leaders of the National School Boards Association wrote President Joe Biden a letter claiming that “many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.”

“This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class,” the letter emphasized.

Conservative commentators feared that the DOJ has directed the FBI to silence parents protesting against Critical Race Theory (CRT) and extreme anti-coronavirus measures, such as mask mandates.



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