The Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) has joined a growing list of state chapters that have severed ties from the National School Board Association (NSBA) after the national group called for federal intervention in parental protests.
In a widely criticized Sept. 29 letter to President Joe Biden, the NSBA characterized disruptions at school board meetings as “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime.” The organization also urged the federal government to invoke counterterrorism laws to handle “angry mobs” of parents seeking to hold school officials accountable for teaching the Marxism-rooted critical race theory and for imposing COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates on their children.
Just five days later, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo directing federal law enforcement to help address an alleged “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against teachers and school leaders. The memo also sparked a controversy, with many lawmakers questioning how much of the claim regarding threats against school leaders was based on facts and expressing concern over its potential chilling effect on free speech.
The GSBA had previously clarified in a statement that they weren’t consulted or informed about the letter to Biden, nor did they seek federal involvement in dealing with disruptions at school board meetings. The state organization has now confirmed to The Epoch Times that its board of directors voted on Nov. 30 to “withdraw and not pay dues to be a member of NSBA.”
“The letter that the NSBA Leadership sent to President Biden calling for broad federal law enforcement intervention on behalf of school board members was concerning since GSBA did not ask for it, was not consulted about it, and did not agree with many of the statements” in it, reads a Nov. 30 letter sent from GSBA Executive Director Valarie Wilson to the organization’s membership, which was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wilson also alleged in the letter that the NSBA has taken “little to no actions” despite being repeatedly asked to address governance and finance issues for several years.
“The GSBA board of directors no longer has faith in NSBA’s ability to effectively represent the interests of our state association and its members,” the letter reads. “We cannot be a part of [an] organization that does not respect and follow the basic principles on which we were founded 70 years ago.”
The Justice Department’s (DOJ) actions following the NSBA request have raised suspicions, prompting a coalition of Republican members of Congress to look into the role that the Biden administration played in the crafting and release of the NSBA letter.
When Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Garland during an Oct. 21 House Judiciary Committee hearing whether it was just a coincidence that the NSBA letter and the DOJ memo were released only five days apart, he admitted the letter was “brought to our attention” and was a “relevant factor” in the drafting of the memo. He noted that the White House had “communicated its concerns about the letter to the Justice Department” and that it was “perfectly appropriate” for it to do so.
Garland also emphasized that his memo “says nothing about domestic terrorism, says nothing about parents committing any such things.” However, an FBI whistleblower has recently revealed that the heads of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and Counterterrorism Division have instructed their agents and analysts to use a designated “threat tag” whenever they encounter a potential threat or case of harassment against school officials.
“This suggests that the Bureau is looking for opportunities to pursue investigations, including using counterterrorism authorities and tools, under the [DOJ memo],” a group of Senate Republicans argued in a Nov. 29 letter, demanding that Garland schedule another hearing over the matter “as soon as possible.”