The Missouri School Board Association on Oct. 26 severed ties with its national counterparts as part of an ongoing fallout over a letter sent to the White House that equated parents to domestic terrorists.
The Ohio school board association quit the National School Board Association (NSBA) over the same letter on the same day. NSBA did not respond to a request for comment about the two withdrawals.
“This decision was not made lightly. The National School Boards Association, through its recent actions, such as its letter to the White House, has demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance,” the Missouri association stated in a letter to its members about the withdrawal.
The controversial NSBA letter to President Joe Biden compared parents who have spoken up at school board meetings to terrorists and urged the White House to take action on alleged threats made by parents against school board staff. Shortly after the letter, the Department of Justice launched a national effort to investigate alleged parent threats.
“We also believe that no school board member or educator should ever have to endure threats of violence or act of intimidation against themselves or their families for making these difficult decisions,” the Missouri school board association said in the letter.
“However, attempting to address that issue with federal intervention should not be the first step in most cases and is antithetical to our longstanding tradition of local control.”
More than 20 state school board associations had distanced themselves from the NSBA as of Oct. 21, according to questionnaire responses tracked by a parents group.
The NSBA on Oct. 22 apologized for the widely criticized letter, saying that “there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
“We should have had a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance,” the NSBA said. “We apologize also for the strain and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations.”
The NSBA asked the Biden administration to take “extraordinary measures” to prevent alleged threats against school staff that the association said were coming from parents who oppose mask mandates and the teaching of critical race theory. The NSBA had contacted the White House prior to releasing the controversial letter, emails from the organization show.
Most of the incidents the board described in the communications with the White House related to parents vigorously pushing back on far-left curriculum, including critical race theory and transgenderism. It is unclear whether any laws were broken in any of the examples described.
Several incidents did ultimately lead to arrests at school board meetings, including a father in Loudoun County, Virginia, who was upset his daughter had been assaulted and school officials allegedly acted to cover it up.
Zachary Stieber and GQ Pan contributed to this report.