Newly uncovered emails from National School Board Association (NSBA) board members say that Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona asked the organization for a letter to President Biden regarding “federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators.”
But weeks ago, on CBS Mornings, Cardona was asked, “Did you solicit anything from that school board association.” He replied, “You know, we didn’t ask for that letter. … But no, specifically with that letter, we had no … we didn’t request it, there was no involvement with that.”
The letter from the NSBA, sent in September 2021, equated parents and citizens speaking out at school board meetings with “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” Parents have been angry about issues such as mask mandates, school closures, transgender policies, and teaching critical race theory and inappropriate comprehensive sexuality education.
The NSBA letter led to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland writing a memorandum to the directors of the FBI and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, as well as to the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division and all federal prosecutors. The memorandum directed these groups to convene meetings to address threats against school administrators, teachers, staff and board members and to create a system for reporting, assessing and responding to threats.
Critics accused the NSBA and the DOJ of demonizing parents’ concerns about serious issues; intimidating citizens from speaking out at school board meetings; setting up a “snitch line” for reporting disgruntled parents and citizens; and working to squash freedom of speech.
Parents in Saline, Michigan and Loudoun County, Virginia filed a lawsuit alleging that the memorandum was a direct threat to their freedom of speech and the right to direct the education of their children, and that it constitutes unlawful discrimination based on political and religious beliefs and views.
The emails, obtained by the organization Parents Defending Education, were between NSBA board members Marnie Maldonado and Kristi Swett and discussed the process for the association writing such a letter. One email asks if the board policy about “emergency situations” was followed when the letter was sent.
The response reads:
Chip Slaven was then the interim executive director of NSBA and cosigned the letter to the White House.
The “communication issues” plaguing the NSBA led to the majority of state school board associations either severing ties or distancing themselves from the national group. The NSBA eventually apologized and retracted the letter.
While most of the “legacy” media has ignored the recent revelations, others are calling for Secretary Cardona to resign.
Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, said, “We had known since last year that Attorney General Merrick Garland and the NSBA were involved in this plot. But now, it appears Secretary Cardona was a key leader from the beginning as well.”
“It is totally unacceptable that someone with such extreme, anti-parent views should be leading our nation’s largest government education agency. If Secretary Cardona indeed was involved in the conception of the NSBA’s ‘domestic terrorism’ letter, he must resign immediately,” Schilling emphatically stated.
Christopher Rufo, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, tweeted, “The Secretary of Education orchestrated the entire campaign to target parents as ‘domestic terrorists.’ He should resign in disgrace.”
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