South Carolina School Board Group Cuts Ties With National Association After Push From Lawmakers

By Bill Pan
Bill Pan
Bill Pan
November 9, 2021 Updated: November 9, 2021

The South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA), facing pressure from Republican lawmakers, has voted to discontinue its membership with the national federation that likened concerned parents to domestic terrorists.

The decision comes weeks after the National School Board Association (NSBA) apologized for a widely criticized letter, in which the organization characterized disruptions at school board meetings as “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime” and urged the Biden administration to invoke counter-terrorism laws to handle “angry mobs” of parents seeking to hold school officials accountable for teaching the Marxist-inspired critical race theory to their children and for imposing COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates on them.

“Over the past few weeks, SCSBA leadership has carefully monitored NSBA’s actions, advocating and watching for a clear path forward and affirmative steps to address the damage done in relation to NSBA’s September 29 letter to President Joe Biden,” the SCSBA said in a statement (pdf) announcing the change.

The SCSBA noted that aside from the apology, the NSBA has done little to “mitigate the negative impact of the letter on many states including South Carolina,” and as a result, the state association has decided to sever its ties with the national group and requested a refund of its 2021-2022 membership fee.

The move was likely prompted by a group of 36 Republican state representatives who demanded that the SCSBA end its NSBA membership, saying that the apology regarding the letter to Biden “is insincere.”

“The reality is that parents and stakeholders are beyond frustrated being ignored and left out of decisions with their child. The NSBA is detached from reality and fails to recognize that Americans are angered by what is happening in our classrooms,” the Republicans said in their message to SCSBA Executive Director Scott Price, adding that they kept receiving calls from parents “tired of losing control over their child’s education.”

“The message needs to be sent immediately that South Carolina will not support organizations that are threatening, antagonizing, or acting un-American towards concerned parents,” the lawmakers wrote.

The SCSBA is the latest in a string of state school board organizations that have reevaluated or ended their membership in NSBA over the “domestic terrorism” letter. According to statements collected by advocacy group Parents Defending Education, as of Nov. 9, seven state chapters—Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Montana—have left or are leaving the NSBA.

Last week, the Montana School Boards Association announced that they will quit the National School Boards Association in June 2022, at the end of the term for which it has paid dues. It also said it plans to work with other state associations to form a new national organization.

Bill Pan