The National School Boards Association on Friday apologized for its inflammatory language that denounced parents critical of left-wing school policies as terrorists.
The group, which claims to represent 90,000 members of 14,000 local school boards nationwide, apologized for its recent letter that caused the Biden administration to dispatch federal authorities to intervene in school-board controversies.
“We regret and apologize for the letter,” the group’s board of directors began in a new letter to its members.
Yet it may have another motive to say sorry. The Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday that the Biden administration had worked with the NSBA on the original 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. 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 consultation on a communication of this significance. We apologize for the strain and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations.”
The NSBA did not say what language it was referring to. But its original letter to the Biden administration, which requested intervention from federal cops and prosecutors, noted, “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat. 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.”
The insinuation was that the group was targeting parents who publicly complained about draconian COVID mandates, permissive transgender policies, ahistorical critical race theory indoctrination, and smut in school libraries.
The letter generated a tidal wave of criticism from the right, especially after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland accepted the invitation to involve federal authorities.
Also, at least 17 states, mostly red and including Florida, condemned the NSBA letter for its tone and content, and for not involving the state organizations in its drafting.
In its new correspondence, the NSBA said that it values “the voices of parents who should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education, health and safety.”
“We are going to do better going forward,” the NSBA said, adding that it was reviewing its internal process to improve coordination among staff and members.
In an unexplained cryptic reference, the NSBA said its internal probe would also investigate “related concerns raised by members before the letter was sent.”
The Free Beacon reported on Thursday that a group representing parents had obtained internal NSBA emails that revealed Viola Garcia, the NSBA president, and Chip Slaven, its CEO, had consulted for several weeks with the White House and the Department of Education about a supposed rise in “cases of irate parents showing up to school board meetings” before the letter was sent.
The Free Beason also noted that Garcia and Slaven acted without board approval.
The outlet cited one email sent just after the original letter became public. In it, John Halkias, a director from the NSBA’s Central Region, said, “Many of us have been put in a position now of explaining or defending this action of our association as we are asked by members of our community if we consider them domestic terrorists for showing up to our meetings and expressing their opinions.” He added that many board members, himself included, would not have approved the language used by Garcia and Slaven because it included “terms that were extreme, and asked for action by the Federal Government that many of us would not request.”
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