Attorney General Merrick Garland was called to appear before a Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. He pushed back against Republicans sitting on the Committee after they attacked a memo he wrote regarding the grim threats against those working in the education field.
Garland addressed a question about his memo from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) during the hearing. Garland said, as CNN reported:
‘[It] responds to concerns about violence, threats of violence, other criminal conduct. That’s all it’s about, and all it asks, is for federal law enforcement to consult with, meet with local law enforcement to assess the circumstances, strategize about what may or may not be necessary to provide federal assistance, if it is necessary.’
The members of the not-so-Grand-Old-Party thought that the AG should apologize for some of the words he used, such as “domestic terrorism.” But Garland would not budge.
The National School Board Association contacted President Joe Biden, whose wife was and is a junior college educator, to report these viable threats and request protection for school employees’ physical beings and their civil rights. It asked him to give schools the federal support they needed to halt this “form of domestic terrorism.”
In addition, the association asked for more help, according to The Washington Post:
‘[It] requested the Justice Department, FBI, Homeland Security and Secret Service to help monitor threat levels and assess risks to students, educators, board members. and school buildings.’
Garland continued testifying before the committee saying:
‘The letter that we that was subsequently sent does not change the association’s concern about violence with threats of violence. It alters some of the language in the letter language in the letter that we did not rely on and is not contained in my own memorandum. The only thing that Justice Department is concerned about violence and threats of violence.’
Republicans have been looking anywhere they can to avoid the January 6 failed coup. So naturally, they were drawn to the AG’s school board memo. The point of it was simply to set out how the FBI should work with local and state law enforcement as they handled gross threats against school employees and volunteers.
Not surprisingly, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), who gave the January 6 insurrectionists a fist pump, not surprisingly said the memo was so awful that Garland should just resign. The senator apparently prefers the more violent terrorists.
Grassley started off the meeting saying:
‘The last thing the Justice Department and FBI need is a very vague memo to unleash their power — especially when they’ve shown zero interest in holding their own accountable.’
Candidate for Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin (R) even put out an ad claiming the FBI’s purpose was to “silence parents.” In contrast, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said:
‘[S]chool board meetings are not more dangerous and more violent than in the past are ignoring reality.’
Garland released a statement earlier that read, according to The U.S. News newspaper:
‘[A] disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.’
The AG authorized the FBI to work with “U.S. attorneys and federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities in each district to develop strategies against the threats:”
‘While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.’
NSBA Interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slave explained the situation:
‘Over the last few weeks, school board members and other education leaders have received death threats and have been subjected to threats and harassment, both online and in person. The department’s action] is a strong message to individuals with violent intent who are focused on causing chaos, disrupting our public schools, and driving wedges between school boards and the parents, students, and communities they serve.’
President of Parents Defending Education Nicole Neily released a statement reading:
‘It is shameful that activists are weaponizing the US Department of Justice against parents. This is a coordinated attempt to intimidate dissenting voices in the debates surrounding America’s underperforming K-12 education – and it will not succeed. We will not be silenced.’
Stay tuned for more action on this front.
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