Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is battling the Biden administration over COVID-19, immigration, and even highway funding policies.
Now, add education to the list.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday that federal prosecutors and FBI agents would meet with local school board members to strategize on how to tame unhappy parents at board meetings.
That would include prosecuting them, if they become too unruly.
Garland, by mobilizing federal law enforcement authorities, appeared to endorse a complaint by the National School Boards Association, which claimed in a letter to President Joe Biden that its members were being subjected to “domestic terrorism” by parents who loudly complain about things like critical race theory indoctrination and masking requirements.
For his part, DeSantis fired back that he would defend the rights of parents to challenge elected education leaders in Florida.
On Tuesday, DeSantis tweeted, “Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation. Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.”
Following the tweet, DeSantis’ office provided a statement to the conservative website Townhall, saying local law enforcement officers in Florida are “perfectly capable of responding to crimes in Florida, and we have never heard the FBI suggest otherwise.”
“However, disagreement is not harassment,” the statement added. “Protest is not terrorism unless it involves rioting, looting, and assault, like some of the left-wing protests of summer 2020. Again, all of those actions are crimes in Florida and will be prosecuted, regardless of political context.”
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