Monday, October 18, 2021

AG Garland directs FBI to counter violence directed at school officials

October 4 (WNN) — Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the FBI to address an increase in threats of harassment, intimidation and violence toward school administrators, board members, teachers and staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Justice Department said Monday.

In a memo addressed to key law enforcement officials, Garland ordered the FBI to work with U.S. attorneys to hold meetings with federal, state, local and tribal leaders within 30 days to address violence directed at school employees. Develop strategies to address and open communication lines. Threatened to report.

“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they are contrary to the core values ​​of our country,” Garland wrote in the memo. “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 jobs without any fear for their safety.”

The Justice Department said in a statement that it will also create specialized training and guidance for school boards and administrators to help them understand what constitutes a threat, how to report threatened conduct and provide evidence for investigation and potential prosecution. How to capture and protect .

Following the announcement, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting federal aid to prevent threats of violence against schoolchildren, school board members and other public school officials.

Officials have experienced a spike in violence as they approve policies to curb the spread of COVID-19 and amid a campaign saying they are teaching important race principles.

“With attacks against school board members and teachers for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school staff, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because The propaganda has led to the wrong inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curriculum,” the BSBA said in the letter. “This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and K- remains a complex law school and graduate school subject beyond the confines of class 12.”

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The letter highlights disrupting school board meetings in California, Florida, Georgia and other states because of more than 20 instances of threats, harassment, disruption and intimidation during such meetings targeting school officials. Because of the mask instructions while exposing.

“A man in Illinois was arrested for bad battery and disorderly conduct during a school board meeting,” the letter said. “During two separate school board meetings in Michigan, one person shouted a Nazi salute in protest against the masking requirements, and another man prompted the board to call a holiday because of his opposition to the critical race theory.”

He said meetings were forced to end due to angry mobs and others were thrown into chaos due to anti-mask supporters.

The violence comes as several Republican-led states have sought to pass legislation preventing schools from compulsory masks and teaching them important race principles.

The NSBA said Monday that the Justice Department’s “rapid action” sends a strong message to those who seek to turn schools into chaos and divide communities.

Threats of violence including death threats from some who aren’t in schools, “bulking out the voices of parents who need to be heard” about decisions affecting their children, Chip Slaven, NSBA’s interim executive director and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“We need to go back to the task of meeting the needs of all students and making sure that each student is ready for a successful future,” said Slaven. “That’s what school board members and parents care about.”

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