White House tries to put distance between controversial NSBA, DOJ memos, with dubious claim

The Biden White House attempted to distance itself from a new scandal on Friday regarding memos between a national school board organization and the Justice Department in which both appeared to be colluding on a response to parental objections to various school boards.

In late September, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the Justice Department seeking assistance from federal law enforcement agencies to intervene on behalf of school boards dealing with parents who were increasingly expressing anger over controversial curriculum such as critical race theory as well as sexually inappropriate content in school libraries.

The NSBA letter, which referred to some parental behaviors as “domestic terrorism,” spurred U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the Justice Department and the FBI to work with local law enforcement to investigate parents who denounced school policies and materials.

“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” the letter from NSBA President Viola Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven began in a letter to President Biden.

“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” they wrote.

In response, Garland wrote in his directive, “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” adding: “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”

On Friday, Fox News asked if anyone in the Biden administration asked Garland to craft the memo or otherwise work with the NSBA to coordinate through the DOJ and White House to craft the letter to Biden, one administration official said that the “circumstances” have “nothing to do with curriculum.”

“It is standard practice across every administration for White House officials to meet with outside stakeholders for listening sessions on a range of issues,” said the official, who went on to add that it “makes sense to ask for examples of increasingly common threats of violence if an alarm is sounded about such a trend, regardless of circumstances.”

In addition, the official said that the White House was not involved in any way with the letter or Garland’s memo, saying the “DOJ chose to take this approach on their own.”

“We contacted DOJ after we were notified about these threats of violence because we were concerned about the pattern, and we discussed policy – not enforcement,” said the official.

But emails provided to Fox News indicate the school board organization did, in fact, coordinate with officials in the White House in the weeks before the NSBA sent its initial letter to Biden requesting federal law enforcement assistance.

“Viola Garcia, the NSBA president whom the Department of Education later named to a federal board, sent a memo to NSBA members on Oct. 11 (but dated Oct. 12), providing a timeline of the NSBA’s interaction with the White House ahead of the letter to Biden, which the NSBA sent on Sept. 29,” the network reported.

On Oct. 4, five days later, Garland issued his memo directing federal law enforcement to help in local police investigations of alleged parental threats to school boards.

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