A group of 19 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Biden administration Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday to demand that he rescind a communication targeting parents at school board meetings.
The controversial memorandum was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigations after the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden criticizing vocal parents as “domestic terrorists.”
“Your testimony before the Judiciary Committee last week concerning your October 4, 2021, memorandum targeting concerned parents at school board meetings was troubling,” the letter read.
#BREAKING: Judiciary Republicans demand Attorney General Garland withdraw school board memo.
RT if you think he should! pic.twitter.com/fo6q1MzGFP
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) October 25, 2021
“You acknowledged that you issued the unusual directive soon after reading about the thinly sourced letter sent by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Biden and not because of any specific request from state or local law enforcement,” it added.
Despite Garland’s testimony, the letter concluded, the attorney general “sidestepped” the effect of his memorandum.
“During your testimony, you sidestepped the obvious effect of your ill-conceived memorandum and the chilling effect that invoking the full weight of the federal law enforcement apparatus would have on parents’ protected First Amendment speech,” the letter said.
Should Merrick Garland resign as attorney general?
The committee’s letter upheld the rights of parents to direct the education of their children, including involvement at school board meetings.
The response also clarified that local law enforcement is the appropriate group to respond to any threats or violence rather than the FBI.
“Parents have an undisputed right to direct the upbringing and education of their children, especially as school boards attempt to install controversial curricula. Local law enforcement — and not the FBI — are the appropriate authorities to address any local threats or violence,” the House members wrote.
GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio accused the Justice Department of creating a “snitch line” to tell on parents during the committee’s hearing with Garland last week.
“When the attorney general, the United States sets up a snitch line on parents, Americans aren’t going to tolerate it,” Jordan said.
“I think they’re gonna stand up to this accelerated march to communism that we now see America is going to fight the good fight, they’re going to finish the course, they’re going to keep the faith, because Americans value freedom,” he added.
The NSBA apologized on Friday regarding its September letter.
“On behalf of the NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter. To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue,” the NSBA wrote Friday.
“However, 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 some consultation on a communication of this significance,” the letter added.