Last fall, parents organized en masse to protest the closure of public schools, asinine masking rules that kept kids in bogus cloth masks for eight hours a day, and other detrimental COVID school policies that were harming their children and their educational process. Videos emerged of protests at local school boards across the country as the parents went to bat—petitioning their government for the best use of their tax dollars.
These protests were very appropriate and an essential function of democracy. Rather than burning down random, private businesses (as we saw in the Black Lives Matter protests), these parents took their complaints directly to the source. Remember, school boards are elected positions that oversee millions of dollars per year and whose policies have a greater impact on families and their educational outcomes than virtually any other position.
But you know who had a problem with that? The US government. A scandalous story emerged last year that revealed a letter from the National School Boards Association (NBSA) petitioning the Biden administration to intervene in these protests, comparing the parents participating in them to “domestic terrorists.” A mere five days later, the Department of Justice went to work doing their bidding, issuing a memo that directed the FBI to investigate threats to school boards.
Just to recap: the taxpayer funded NBSA used its resources to ask the federal government to label parents who protested their policies as terrorists, and the DOJ and FBI complied. That’s an actual attack on the First Amendment as the parents had every right to protest and to exercise their freedom of speech at these meetings.
The backlash was swift and sure. And to be clear, there was never any actual threat posed to school board members—other than the deserved possibility of losing their jobs for atrocious policies.
According to Fox News, “In testimony before Congress in October 2021, (US Attorney General Merrick) Garland told lawmakers that his Department of Justice had not deployed antiterrorism tools against parents protesting the actions of school boards. ‘I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism,’ he said at the time.”
But a new whistleblower report from within the DOJ indicates that was a lie.
Republican Representatives Jim Jordan and Mike Johnson claim they have evidence that the FBI did indeed target school board parents and labeled dozens of investigations into parents with a threat tag created by the bureau’s Counterterrorism Division to assess and track investigations related to school boards.
According to the representatives, an internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism division contained instructions to apply a new threat tag to all investigations and assessments of threats that had to do with education officials.
Again according to Fox News, “Jordan and Johnson, citing a whistleblower, said the FBI opened investigations with the EDUOFFICIALS threat in every region of the country and relating to all types of educational settings.”
To be clear, there is still to this day no actual evidence of terrorism threats at these protests. The investigation included things like an investigation into a mom who committed the high crime of being a gun owner and participating in a right-wing group called “Moms for Liberty.” Another father was targeted for having “anti-government views” (who doesn’t these days?).
The U.S. government targeting civilians this way is not only a massive crime that violated the civil liberties of every parent involved, it was also an incredible waste of resources. While the FBI can barely clear half of all murders each year, and while it fails to catch actual terrorists on its watchlist like the recent NYC subway bomber, it instead spends our tax dollars in this manner. And then to add insult to injury the US Attorney General lies about their activities to the American people.
Heads should roll over this scandal.