Attorney General Todd Rokita is leading a 17-state effort to deter the Biden administration from threatening parents who express their views to school officials on issues regarding their children’s education.
“Hoosier parents have a First Amendment right to speak their minds to teachers, administrators and school board members,” Attorney General Rokita said. “That’s why I’m demanding that the Biden administration immediately stop attempting to shut down parental participation through scare tactics and intimidation.”
Attorney General Rokita expresses his concerns in an Oct. 18 letter to President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
On Oct. 4, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memorandum decrying a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
On that premise, U.S. Attorney General Garland called for the FBI and other federal law enforcement agents to fan out across the United States and monitor activities in the nation’s school districts to suppress what they deem unruly behavior.
The Biden administration, however, has provided no convincing evidence of any significant “spike” in threats against school personnel. Instead, these actions by the administration seem designed to chill the lawful dissent of parents who express concerns about their children’s education at local public school board meetings.
The Department of Justice memo echoes a National School Board Association (NSBA) letter sent Sept. 29 to the Biden administration that laments the rise of parents pushing back against divisive ideologies, including critical race theory (CRT). The NSBA letter raises the specter of local protests rising to the level of “domestic terrorism.”
“Concerned parents passionate about their kids’ education are not terrorists,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The Biden administration and its special-interest allies need to dial down the rhetoric and respect the rights of parents to be heard.”
In June, the Office of the Attorney General released the Parents Bill of Rights (PBR) to encourage parents to exercise their First Amendment liberties as they participate in their children’s educational process. In the coming weeks, the Office will release an update to the PBR that focuses on medical issues for children in grades K-12 and information access to school administrators, school board members and teachers.