The backlash to school board protests is an overreach

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Today, Bari Weiss’ Substack features a piece written by a mom, who describes herself has a “lifelong liberal,” who has been protesting her local school board. Recently a group called the National School Boards Association sent a letter asking the Biden administration to investigate those who are protesting school boards using the PATRIOT ACT if necessary and suggesting there may be domestic terrorists at work.

I read the letter with grave concern, as would any American who cares about our public schools and the safety of teachers and students. What was the nature of this threat? And would my own children be at risk?

As it turns out, the threat is me. The threat is parents showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty. That is what the NSBA considers a crime.

I urge you to read the letter in full. You will see that it contains 24 footnotes. The worst of the so-called crimes include prank calls; a single individual in Ohio yelling a “Nazi salute in protest of masking requirements”; another individual in Washington State whose disorderly conduct prompted the board to call a recess; “spreading misinformation” online, and disorderly conduct arrests. In New York, where I live, disorderly conduct is not even a criminal offense.

She points out that Merrick Garland released a letter in response to the NSBA letter warning of a spike in threats of violence but not offering any examples.

Maud Maron, the author of the piece, was a member of a Manhattan school board before she became a protester. She knows what it’s like to have people shout and scream and accuse you of things you haven’t done. But despite that it never occurred to her to call the FBI.

You may disagree with parents like me who do not want our children indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory, masked during recess, or told that their biological sex is is not real. But in a free society, we don’t call the feds to police our fellow Americans because we don’t share their politics…

Perhaps the most outlandish aspect of all is the NSBA’s risible complaint that parents are spreading lies about Critical Race Theory being taught in school. The letter states: “This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class.”

This is the same old gimmick we’ve seen used many times by now. The left pretends that Critical Race Theory is an upper level law school topic and ignores the fact that elements of anti-racism (intersectionality for one) that are being promoted in schools across the country are derived from CRT. This isn’t a secret, it’s something the proponents of these ideas admit. As Ibram Kendi said, “intersectional theory, which is one of the critical components of critical race theory, is foundational to to to being Antiracist.” Rather than admit this, they just keep playing the semantic game that CRT isn’t taught in schools.

Maron concludes that opposition to these ideas, either in person, online or in letters to school boards, is something every parent has a right to do. “That’s not domestic terrorism. It’s good parenting. It’s patriotism. And it’s a basic American right — one we all need to defend,” she concludes. She’s right. We can all agree that actual threats are wrong but the backlash to people rejecting some of what these school boards are embracing is an overreach. Parents have the right to speak up about what their children are being taught, no matter what some Democrats think.